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June 23, 2010

Earthquake Strikes Vermont; State Collectively Tweets in Response

Twitter-logo If you were feeling a bit shaken up today, you weren't alone.

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck 33 miles NNE of Ottawa, Canada at 1:41 this afternoon. Rumblings from the quake were felt here in Vermont, and as far away as Chicago.

Surprised that earthquakes can be felt so far away? According to the USGS, "earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the west, are typically felt over a much broader region...A magnitude 5.5 eastern earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi)."

What was our first reaction to the shaking at the Seven Days office? Well, one designer offered that if the folks from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (with whom we share an office building) evacuated, we should follow suit. They didn't, so we naturally took to Twitter to figure out what was going on.

The award for "first Tweet recognizing the Great Vermont Quake of 2010" goes to Steve McIntyre (@Steve_McIntyre):

#btv Anybody else feel a little earthquake?

Way to stay cool under pressure and Tweet when the rest of us were still paralyzed with fear and confusion, Steve.

The conspiracy theories about the cause of the quake quickly began pouring into Twitter. From Powder Magazine associate editor Mike Rogge (@skiingrogge):

#Vermont just experienced the largest cow tipping prank in it's history and mistaked it for an earthquake.

After Landon Donovan's last-minute goal to send the USA soccer team to the next round of the World Cup, soccer-themed cracks were especially timely. From The Essex (@EssexResortSpa):

Sorry about the earthquake, folks... It was just an aftershock from people jumping up&down in the Tavern after the US win. #btv #vt

Benjamin Higgins (@daidojiryushi) blamed the quake on the vuvuzelas, those love-em-or-hate-em plastic horns buzzing non-stop at the World Cup:

#BTV Earthquake: Butterfly Effect from Vuvuzela? #worldcup  #vtquake

I'm starting to feel sorry for vuvuzelas — they're getting blamed for everything.

Speaking of "blamed for everything"... From Meghan Butler (@The_Megster):

This earthquake was BP's fault. #btv #vtquake #earthquake #bpcares

Liz Small's (@LizSmall_Design) dog knew what was coming before us humans did:

I am still in shock. No wonder the dog was acting weird today. They sense stuff like that! #btv #vt #earthquake

But wait - -maybe the Seven Days' designers had a premonition of their own. The cover of today's issue reads "Shake it up!" Creepy.

The Tweet that best sums up today's ordeal, though, comes from Elise Richardson (@eliserichardson):

used twitter search to find out if that really was a #tremor - it was. 1yr ago i would've googled it. Twitter's faster. #btv #earthquake

Too true, Elise.

Machado, you rock. I can't believe this!

"#Vermont just experienced the largest cow tipping prank in it's history and mistaked it for an earthquake."

Really? This from an associate editor of a magazine. Never mind the incorrect spelling of "it's," but "mistaked"? That 5.0 tremor must have knocked Mike's dictionary offline.

And, not to be TOO grammatically anal, but it's "we humans."

Poor grammar in a text or tweet is excusable. Poor grammar in paid, published writing (such as this blog post), much less so.

Congrats, Tyler! "Jimmy" just insulted you! Now you're really one of us. Welcome aboard.

Oh, did I point out the grammatical error first? The timestamps above say otherwise, but maybe they're malfunctioning.

Perhaps I should auto-generate random platitudes, then sign them with links to potential virus-dispensing sites purporting to sell air jordans and coach handbags. Those seem to be in favor here, since they're never deleted.

It was one of your own who first persnicketed on the associate ski-dude's grammar problems.

Apropos of the subject of this thread, Jimmy rocks. He dispenses blunt sanity in this bastion of shiny-happy, robotic, self-satisfied, overprivileged, hypocritical, yoga-practicing, $3-coffee-drinking, living-on-ancestral-money, brainwashed Progressive thought.

And anyone who actually cares about grammar gets extra points in my book. Concern for syntax, logic, and other elements of written expression get even more.

Every minute the writers/reporters from Seven Days spend calling out the Tweet errors of other journalists is one less minute spent editing their own writing. And considering the decrease in quality of your paper's editing the last few years, is it really a good idea to trash talk other journalists?

Jimmy, you'll be happy to know that Tyler is our new assistant web editor, and it will become his job to delete those annoying spam comments. Right now it's my job, and I'm too busy to attend to it properly. So blame me. But in another week, you can blame him.

Since I don't run or work for 7 days, the lack of routine blog maintenance doesn't reflect on or affect me in any way, so I'm not sure why you think I'd have any interest in assigning blame.

BTW, unless your software is ridiculously cumbersome, you could have found and deleted about ten spam comments in the time it took you to address me.

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