A particularly nasty nor’easter pommeled the East Coast last month, leaving an estimated 1.4 million people without power. Heavy flooding, high winds, and accumulations of up to two feet of snow sent residents from Maine to South Carolina into a frenzy. And Facebook became more important than battery conservation, as argued by Winter Storm Riley victims.
“It’s all fun and games until your power goes out,” said Amanda Chase, a resident of Coolbaugh Township, Pennsylvania. With twenty-four inches of snow, Coolbaugh saw one of the highest accumulations from the storm.
Chase said she’d been binging Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on Hulu when her power first flickered. It went out completely five minutes later. While she was watching the show, she’d been simultaneously using her laptop, tablet, and phone.
“It was so scary, because I went from being able to use three forms of social media to only one.” Chase said she finds it bothersome to switch between apps on her phone, so she keeps Facebook open on her laptop, Twitter open on her tablet, and Instagram open on her Galaxy S8. “My internet went out! My internet! I had to rely on 4G! Come on, people; I’m not made of data!”
Chase was hardly the only person affected by the storm.
“Friends,” Tim Michaels of Massachusetts wrote on his timeline. “It’s been rough going, and I’m sad to say that my phone is currently sitting at five percent. I’ve drained my external battery, too. There’s a warming shelter a block down the street. I’m going to pack supplies and put on my snowshoes. If I don’t make it, tell my mother I love her. This may be the last status I ever post.”
Winds and snow caused ongoing outages, and with another winter storm on their heels, residents wonder if they’ll be able to juice up their electronics before the next round hits. Andrew Lee, who studies seasonal trends in social media usage, says that people have a particularly difficult time dealing with a loss of power during the winter.
“You can’t really go outside and do anything,” he said. “You just have to hunker down, hope for the best, and try not to drain your battery. It’s a difficult feat.” Lee has a name for these symptoms: Winternet Addiction Disorder, and it knows no bounds.
“It affects people of all ages,” Lee warned. “Don’t think for one moment that you’re immune to Winternet Addiction Disorder. All it takes is one bad storm, like Riley, and you’ll be ruing the day you ever took your smart phone for granted.”
The best way to deal with Winternet Addiction Disorder, Lee believes, is to turn your phone off. That way, you won’t be as tempted to look at your social media accounts and lose what precious battery life you have left.
The best option, he thinks, may be to put your phone out of sight and out of mind. “Throw it in your sock drawer and find something else to do. It’s what the pioneers did.”
If you or a loved one you know is having any mental health struggles, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.
Photo Credit: Don Hankins