Much has been said — and debated, and deplored — about what happened on social media during the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.
Our account of the social media story, including a running blog of the news, tributes to Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the beginnings of media backlash.
At left: Brenda Hernadez of Enfield Conn., comforts her daughter Crystal at a makeshift shrine on the Enfield Town Green on Friday evening after a candlelight vigil. The vigil was organized on social media in memory of the school shooting victims in Newtown earlier that morning. (AP Photo/Journal Inquirer, Jim Michaud)
Felecia D. Wellington, social media director at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, documented the hunt for the suspect’s social media profiles:
Once the initial — and by now, familiar — shock of the massacre subsided, the maelstrom of information across social media revealed a suspect: Ryan Lanza, who maybe had a connection to New Jersey, but definitely had a connection to affluent Newtown, Conn. An electronic witch hunt was born. … But it was the wrong guy. The Facebook profile was eventually shut down, and authorities have since identified the shooting suspect as Adam Lanza, Ryan Lanza’s brother.
Since the frenzy, and because rumors also flew during Superstorm Sandy (remember that tweet about the New York Stock Exchange being under 3 feet of water?), a significant thread of conversation has been about “slowing down” social media. Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in Florida, wrote a piece about the time for speed and the time for reflection and analysis:
… maybe during the next Code Red news event we all should raise our eyes from the keyboard before hitting “send” and ask a few questions.
Other interesting commentary:
“From real time to slow social,” by Amanda Zamora of ProPublica, writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab.
“A local crisis meets the global social web,” by Ben Smith and Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed.
“It’s not Twitter — this is just the way the world works now,” by Mathew Ingram of GigaOm.
“Did NPR’s Andy Carvin overreach his Twitter calling on Newtown shooting?,” by Michael Wolff of The Guardian.
Is social media moving too quickly for the facts? Should we all slow down? Leave your answer in the comments below.