Earthquake Shakes X Awake

In the olden days, before it was X and before many users decamped to alternative social media platforms, Twitter was the place to be for a collective experience. Election updates! Weather events! That time Oprah interviewed Meghan Markle! Whether these moments were fun or terrifying or both, the site was where millions of people went to ask “What’s happening?”

On Friday morning, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.8 shook New York City and beyond around 10:23 a.m., according to the United States Geological Survey. The U.S.G.S. also reported that the earthquake’s epicenter was northeast of Lebanon, N.J., and that its tremors could be felt in cities from Philadelphia to Boston.

They could also be felt on X, where some social media users — shaken, quite literally, from dormancy — began posting questions, fears and a fair few jokes. While there has been much discussion in recent months over whether people use X with the same zeal they once did Twitter, one thing quickly became clear. In a moment of collective curiosity and concern, X is still where many people go first to find out more. (And then talk about what is happening ad nauseam, probably to the annoyance of those on the platform who were not physically rattled on Friday morning.)

First, there were the curious, those seeking affirmation that what they felt was real. Some flocked to X simply to ask, Did the ground just start shaking? Exhibit A: The actor Jessica Chastain, who posted: “Did we just have an earthquake?! NYC.”

Then came the official updates. Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York quickly posted some details about the size and scope of the quake. “My team is assessing impacts and any damage that may have occurred, and we will update the public throughout the day,” she posted, noting the earthquake hit “west of Manhattan.”

Then, finally, the jokes. “Congrats to NJ for officially being referred to as west of Manhattan by the Gov,” Ben Max, executive editor and program director of the Center for New York City Law wrote. “I AM FINE,” the official account of the Empire State Building reassured its nearly 300,000 followers.

Others, including Ms. Chastain, shared well wishes. “Hope everyone is ok and that our buildings weren’t damaged,” she later posted with a heart emoji. The New York Police Department said it had no immediate reports of damage.

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