This is a personal post about a recent tragedy in my home town. Please read with sensitivity.
On May 10, 2014, I woke up, checked my email, text messages, and Facebook. Friends from home (Farmingdale, N.Y) were posting RIP statuses. I immediately looked up what had happened – there was a deadly car crash killing four kids from Farmingdale High School. After making necessary phone calls and finding out my brother was not involved, I jumped on every social networking site to find out more.
Each news article I read, such as this one speaks about the crash. Many news articles and videos are stating that police will not release the names of those who died. I found out who passed away in 10 minutes by scrolling through my Facebook and seeing my friends’ statuses. Is Facebook more powerful than newscasters?
The point of this blog post is the aftermath of this tragedy. I want to point out the beautiful and powerful side of social networking sites. My hometown has a unique trait: its pride. It doesn’t matter how far you go or how old you grow, you always have Daler Pride. Whether you’re on the football team, or the marching band, you have an immense sense of pride in being a Daler. There’s a hashtag on Twitter, #DalerStrong for those lives lost. My Twitter page has blown up with this hashtag and support from every Farmingdale graduate, current student, teacher, and superintendent. Below are some snapshots from Twitter when I searched #DalerStrong. I am absolutely baffled yet humbled by the amount of support everyone is showing during this hard time. Twitter suddenly had this power to reconnect all of us; I connected with my best friend from high school that I no longer talk to, I saw my ex-partner post one as well. At the end of the day, it connected all of us, whether we knew each other or not. Twitter became this place for all of us to show our support, our grief, and our love for each other and our town. Adults have, and will continue to criticize younger generations such as mine that we post too many personal things, and that social networks are ruining people and relationships. In some cases, I would agree; my brother and I keep our phones on the table during dinner. Nevertheless, it is moments like this one that social networks truly show their benefits. Without Facebook, I would have never known what happened. Without my cell phone, I would have never been able to iMessage my brother to make sure he was okay. Without Google, I would have never been able to read more on what happened and what people have to say about it. And finally, without Twitter, my community, my Farmingdale family would not be able to join together and support each other. This horrible tragedy made me realize something quite beautiful: the perpetual togetherness of my town.
“Once a Daler, Always a Daler.”