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  • Heidi Broecking

ahhh...the feedback loop


We made it through the first Snowmaggedonapocolypse of the 2015 winter season. It turned out that forecasted snowfall amounts for the Hudson Valley were wrong. I am of the belief that this is a good thing. I woke this morning to find 8-inches of snow rather than the predicted 30 to 36-inches. I was a little disappointed, I love being snowed in. I also woke to find people on social media freaking out because there was "only" 8-inches of snow!

Here's how it went: There was a Nor'Easter predicted. This Nor'Easter had the potential to drop huge snow on the NorthEast. Everyone freaked out because of potentially huge snowfall. Everyone bought kale! State and local authorities put safety precautions into place based on those predictions. We got LESS snow than predicted. Result? Everyone is mad and freaking out because there wasn't enough snow. Wait. What? Yes. Mad at the Governor, mad at the MTA, mad at weather forecasters, mad at the snow. Why? Oh why didn't you snow enough? You bad, bad Thundersnowmaggedonapocolypse!

All joking aside, I have found the utterly panicked prepatory actions and then frustrated, angry reactions to the winter storm, perplexing and contradictory. We never used to freak out like this. We just prepped and waited it out. What has changed in our culture that makes us react this way to a natural, seasonally occurring event?

Yup, connectivity in the form of television, the internets and social media. I was unable to to articulate how exactly until Devon came down this morning for brunch. We were discussing the above and he described it as a "giant feedback loop". Just like the spinning-Apple-rainbow-pizza-wheel. A command loops, it feeds off itself endlessly until the circle is broken by catastrophe, another command or deprivation of energy. Quit the app, turn off the computer, loop ends.

This is exactly the same thing that happened with the storm predictions. Por ejemplo: The Weather Channel (and everyone else on the internet) put out the disproportional and alarming predictions for 48 hours prior to the storm. The constant worst case scenario and hyperbole on the talkbox or computer machine scared people. Whoever saw that, talked/tweeted/instagrammed/posted it along with the fear and hyperbole. Then their friends/followers saw and repeated it, and so on and so on. THEN, the first people who posted/tweeted/instagrammed were validated. Making them feel both psyched and then even MORE freaked out. The loop then perpetuated itself infinitely until someone broke the loop. In this particular case, Snowmaggedonapocolypse itself broke the loop by NOT dumping three feet of snow on us. But then the energy leaving THAT loop created yes....another loop...the irritated/angry/inconvenienced/WhyTF isn't there more snow? loop!

So. I say we stop the Thundersnowmaggedonapocolypse loop with the ultimate in Interwebs Circuit Breaker....a video with babehz and kittehz and puppehz! Please share for our collective greater good!

#snow #ilovesnow #feedbackloop #kittens #puppies #hysteria #weather #socialmedia #overreacting

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