Chasing the Tweet: How Social Media Dehumanizes Tragedy

The information on tragedies that plummet the world, whether man made or natural disasters is becoming more easily accessible. The recent bombing at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts early in the afternoon on Monday April 15th shook the nation. A friend of mine said it happened during his 2:00 pm class and there were 6 variations of suspects and victims by 4 pm. I am grateful for information that is readily available but social networks are surely making prominent appearance in crisis both local and global. Twitter caused multiple trusted sources including Fox News and CNN to make retractions because of all the false news claiming to be useful sources.

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Our adolescent communities (ages 14-20) have found a way to make profit from the tragedies. Not monetary profit but fame and recognition. They use photos of fake victims and make up false eye witness accounts just to say “That was me; I said that first”. A recent trend has been using pictures and retweets to gain popularity on Twitter. An image of an eight year old girl said to have been running for Sandy Hook victims was killed. Or maybe it was a boy? Or maybe they weren’t killed but a limb was amputated. This is the type of untrue accounts floating around on the web. My Twitter night timeline was filled was #PrayForBoston, #BostonMarathon, and #Boston, by the same people that couldn’t lift a finger to help raise money or awareness for local deaths in the community including the passing to two Rowan Students in the same weekend at separate events.

images-34Social media had become so polluted I don’t know what to believe anymore. Every wants to be a journalist but what one needs to know is that journalist are trained for this and they do it for the love of information. People are using mainstream tragedies to get there tweets up and I am sick of it. Furthermore, when a person shows genuine interest people want to call them “preachers” and assume that their concern is short lived. If I want to tweet about social inequality before after or during a tragedy, public announcement, or swearing in of the Pope that’s just what I’m going to do. I may lose followers and friends in the process but there is nothing more important than free speech. So don’t just pray for Boston pray for the world.  

Ayanna Lyons

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p.s. keep in mind this is very rough!

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