In anticipation of the forecasted flood watch for Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (among others) are adding more servers and IT professionals to handle area web traffic. Similar efforts are being made by most local news sites in anticipation of increased web traffic.
According to the National Weather Service, “heavy rain with some embedded thunderstorms” will arrive, with showers likely to begin in Lancaster County after 2 a.m. Saturday, the day that most of the rain will fall here. Up to 2 to 3 inches of rain could fall over a large area of the region, and “many areas will see creeks and stream swell and exceed their banks. Urban flooding is also possible.” In addition to the rain, temperatures will drop to well below normal by Friday evening, and highs will only be in the upper 60s Saturday and in the low 70s Sunday.
According to Jack Jim Johns, Associate Professor of Social Media at Harrisburg Area Community College, this is not at all uncommon for many backwards areas like Central PA. “Anytime you have a moderately large population with a concern for anything that deviates from the norm, you have these problems. When you layer that on top of the innate desire to state the obvious along with the plethora of free time these people have, you develop the perfect storm for insipid commentary online. Am I surprised? No. These companies are prepared to go into what they call FRM. They have a plan.”
All major social media sites have assured us that there will be no slowdown in postings, shares, etc. They have the capacity and the ability to handle even the most prolific posters. Johns is confident in their ability as well, “They know the people in this area and have taken the precaution. So feel free to bombard the ‘net with posts complaining about the unseasonable cool weather, or the rain, or your kids or global warming. Post pictures of rain and puddles. The networks can handle it. Summer is less than a week old. Go ahead and ask the world ‘What Happened to Summer?’, I’m sure one of your equally vapid friends will have an answer for you.”