How Facebook Live Transformed the Hurricane Experience

This piece was originally published in Above the Noise, Burness’ Medium publication. Check it out here

Hurricanes bring a different kind of darkness.

While the rain crashes down and the wind slowly bends trees to its will, boarded up windows, downed power lines and dark clouds form an impenetrable sheet against the sun.

Huddled up in a small closet with your family and two dogs, you hope for safety. Listening to the whistling of the wind, you await the dreaded sound of an oncoming train — the song of tornadoes.

You wonder, how long will it last? Will a tree fall on the house? Will we make it through the night?

When Hurricane Charley hit in 2004, without power to check the TV, our only sources for information were a little FM/AM radio and my sister’s at-the-time boyfriend as he sent the occasional T9-text from his dorm room about 100 miles away.

During the hurricane, the darkness was two-fold, caused both by lack of light and information. We were dependent on radio, TV and landline phones — and the latter two were often knocked out by the winds.

Before Hurricane Matthew, the last time Florida faced a major hurricane was 2005.

That was a year before Twitter launched, when Facebook was only for college students and the iPhone was still two years away.

Hurricane Matthew was different.

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