Snow Snark: Social Media Gone Too Sarcastic?

Snow Snark: Social Media Gone Too Sarcastic?

Most of us – those who reside in the south – have no qualms about admitting we can’t drive in winter weather conditions. Though I have had to do so in the past, on several occasions, it has been with white knuckles and pounding heart. I don’t enjoy it and I’ll do all I can to stay snug and warm at home in order to evade such scary driving conditions.

Snowmageddon and other names created by the media of course seem silly when the net snowfall accumulation is a few inches. However, I admit to being a bit appalled at the way some of my northern “friends” have commented on the situation. I admit that when I worked at the television station I’d roll my eyes when the news director got the ratings gleam in his eye at the mere mention of snow flurries. Most of the time the hysteria and hype was unfounded.

But sometimes the situation isn’t funny, even if the snowfall amounts to less than 5 inches.

Do your images of “real snow” and “real” winter driving conditions trump mothers, fathers, wives and husbands who spent hours – four, six, eight, ten and more – trying to get home to their families.

Do your cute memes and jokes about what the weather’s like in Canada get an elementary school child home rather than spending the night on the floor in the cafeteria or assembly hall at school?

Granted, I spent the day in my home office, safe and sound. But following along on social media I know that Atlanta drivers and those awaiting those drivers at home were worried and concerned, if not out and out scared.

The temperatures fell to 10 degrees in my area of Atlanta, not too far from the parking lots that were once bustling Interstates. Many people ran out of gas and spent the night in the cold. And it doesn’t matter where you live, spending the night with no heat with temperatures hovering well below freezing is no fun and potentially dangerous.

I could, if I didn’t think about it, scoff and make fun of people who get scared by what I’d call minor earthquakes, as I can well remember the nightmare that was the Loma Prieta earthquake,  7.0 magnitude, with aftershocks larger than most of the quakes that have worried those online friends.

But I know better. Why. Because I grew up in California, and earthquakes were something I grew up with, something I dealt with on a regular basis. Much like the snow northerners deal with on a daily basis. Atlanta doesn’t deal with snow on a regular basis. Our last snow issue was in 2011. Our city’s infrastructure isn’t capable of dealing with roads made impassable by sheets of ice.

I could ramble on and on, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just ask you to consider walking a mile in your Southern friends shoes. Imagine if you just could not, no matter how hard you tried, get home or get to your young child. Imagine walking miles on icy streets just to get home, wearing a coat for Atlanta weather patterns, not those normal to Wisconsin or Minnesota.  Consider not knowing exactly where your child was, perhaps on a bus about to run out of gas miles from home.

The idea of social is to share, but at times like this I think social should help rather than harm. While your barbs and jokes can’t physically hurt anyone, they certainly don’t help when someone is worrying or scared.

Think about it. And I promise not to roll my eyes and snarkily chime in when you think 92 degrees with less than 50% humidity is a heat wave!

7 replies
  1. Robin Strohmaier
    Robin Strohmaier says:

    I watched the news about what happened last night, Mallie. What a nightmare. My heart went out to one woman who was stuck in her car with her two little ones. You are absolutely right. Stay safe!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks, Robin. Derek and I are safe and sound, but my brother-in-law couldn’t get a flight home because Atlanta was canceling flights to keep less people on the roads. Hoping the sun comes out tomorrow and melts things back to normal.

  2. Mandy Edwards
    Mandy Edwards says:

    THANK YOU for writing this. I am right with you. I had 3 friends (1 of them my best friend) get stranded in Atlanta last night. Two were able to make it home, one has to stop at a friend’s house.

    I also grew up outside the South. I know what it’s like when you go to school in a foot of snow and laugh at “snow days”. But you said it best – snow isn’t normal down here. We can handle a hurricane like no other, but winter weather is something else. I have been amazed at the outpouring of generosity of strangers there in Atlanta and in Birmingham the past 24 hours. Bless their warm hearts and souls. I wish there were more people like them.

    I’ve had some of my friends from the midwest snicker at this, but you know what, I’d like to see them come here and survive a hurricane or tropical storm 🙂

  3. Jenn Herman
    Jenn Herman says:

    I appreciate your *rant* Mallie and it’s well founded. Hearing the news this morning about stranded drivers and children spending the night at school and people sleeping in Home Depot stores was shocking. I can’t imagine how those people are feeling and honestly hope they all make (or made) it home safely.

    It is easy for others to “joke” about the conditions of others but we need to be more aware of the circumstances surrounding the conditions.

    Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest area, “rain” meant a torrential downpour that lasted a week straight. Moving to Southern California, a “storm” consisted of a couple hours of light rain. But the reality is that SoCal is not build for rain. The roads flood instantly and all of the dirt and grime on the roads and freeways rises to the surface of the puddles and creates a giant oil slick for everyone to drive along. It might only bring an inch or two of rain, but that SoCal storm results in endless traffic accidents and scary situations for many. I still get ridiculed every year by my friends back home when we talk about our SoCal rain and stormy weather.

  4. Mallie Hart
    Mallie Hart says:

    Thanks for chiming in, Jenn. We all face different weather issues and natural disasters dependent on where we live. To scoff at someone dealing with unfamiliar and frightening conditions shouldn’t be something we aspire to.

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