No One “Likes” Sandy: Facebook and Post-Hurricane Recovery In Long Beach, NY

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Jillian POWERS , American Studies and Sociology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Technologies, like social media sites, have made it easier to communicate and can capture the “ephemeral” cultural artifacts found during periods of upheaval and change (Stallings 2006). However, due to its relative newness, social media’s role in recovery efforts after natural disasters has not yet been thoroughly explored. This report adds to existing literature and demonstrates how social media technologies supported and facilitated localized recovery efforts and memorializations from below in Long Beach, New York. The Long Beach Hurricane Information Facebook page, created by two transplants to keep out-of-towners informed has since morphed into a virtual bulletin board that provides support and information for local residents. Residents both near and far see this site as a place to share information, organize local responses, and importantly remember. Referencing their personal memories of Long Beach, posters reference local symbols and sayings to perform solidarity and community in this virtual space. This site bears witness to the resiliency, frustration, and strength as well as the shortcomings and failures of institutional recovery efforts. While they struggle to rebuild, they work together; defined and connected by the “Long Beach sand in their shoes.”