Social Media Thrived During Sandy's Worst

Oct 30, 2012
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour, a lighter note for a heavy story. Images of Sandy's wrath - taken by amateur photographers in the storm's path - began popping up yesterday on photo-sharing services, including Instagram.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Many were eerie, but some, a little too eerie. Among them, a shot of the Statue of Liberty with a dark ring of storm clouds approaching from behind.

CORNISH: Well, The Atlantic Wire posted a story today saying the photo, along with several others, was Photoshopped. That ominous ring of clouds is actually from a photo of a supercell thunderstorm in Nebraska back in 2004.

SIEGEL: Another photo that didn't turn out to be true: Lady Liberty getting crushed by waves nearly as tall as the statue itself. That image is about as real as its source: a still from the 2004 film about Mother Nature gone awry, "The Day After Tomorrow."

CORNISH: Also on our social media radar: a woman named Lydia Callis who managed to upstage Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his news conferences yesterday about the storm.

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MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: If you are still in Zone A and can find a way to leave, leave immediately. Conditions are deteriorating very rapidly and the window for you...

SIEGEL: Lydia Callis didn't say a word. She was standing beside Bloomberg, interpreting the news conference in sign language. Callis was animated - both in her facial expressions and hand movements - the antithesis of the stoic mayor.

CORNISH: And as it is often wont to do, the Internet took notice. Bruce Arthur, a sports columnist at The National Post in Toronto, posted this to his Twitter feed: No making fun of Bloomberg's sign language translator. Seriously. Only love. She's doing her job both very well and with style.

SIEGEL: And The New Yorker's Ben Greenman tweeted: Is there a fan page yet for Mayor Bloomberg's sign language interpreter? The answer: Yes. And then some.

CORNISH: Callis now has her own fake Twitter feed, Tumblr sites and a Facebook group called Lydia Calas Can Destroy Hurricane Sandy With Her Bare Hands.

SIEGEL: New York Magazine described Callis' lightning-fast signing as not unlike a guitarist during a blistering solo. In other words...

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BLOOMBERG: As the winds start building this afternoon, it gets more and more dangerous to go outside, and so you're sort of caught between a rock and a hard place.

CORNISH: Fake photos and Van Halen aside, we think the real takeaway message here is millions may be without power, but it's impossible to keep the Internet down.

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SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.