Social Media Thrived During Sandy's Worst

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Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel talk about how the Internet has responded to Hurricane Sandy, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sign language interpreter and storm photos that seems too fake to be true.


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.


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.


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...


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.


SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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