In the wake of this weekend’s tragic Tuscon, Arizona shootings that left 6 dead and 14 more wounded, among them Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, it becomes clear how significant social media is today and the role it has and continues to play in society. While many of us consider it to be a tool for simply staying in contact with friends and family or networking and meeting new people, it’s actually much more- an incredibly valuable source of news and resource to spread it.
Shortly before Rep. Giffords meeting with constituents held in a Safeway supermarket parking lot, she tweeted an invitation to the event informing followers to “Please stop by and let me know what is on your mind, or tweet me later.” Almost immediately after the shooting occurred, people shared details via Twiiter that Giffords had died. And just a few days later, media outlets were able to piece together the disturbed emotional state of the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, thanks in part to his social media footprint (a MySpace page and YouTube video he posted). Meanwhile, an online vigil for the shooting victims was created on Tumblr, and people offered (and continue to offer) prayers and support for Rep. Giffords on her Facebook page.
Since its advent, social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and many others have played a significant role in informing you, I and the rest of the world of national milestones, weather and environmental disasters, and shocking and mournful events that seem to in some way touch and affect the lives of everyone- that can include just stopping and thinking about what happened for a moment, exuding feelings of sympathy and loss for those personally affected, or having a deeper reflection of the meaning behind the incident as a whole and how it translates into what the society of today has become .
According to a recent article on Buiness Wire, Twitter, which was created in 2006, is now the preferred method of social media users, and its popularity only continues to grow (it is estimated there will be nearly 200 million users by this year!). It’s exciting to see how the image of Twitter and its counterparts are changing and expanding, as well as know that while we will continue to socialize and share our thoughts, plans (and maybe a little TMI here and there) with others, we’ll also be sharing breaking news and information. Social media is among the leading forms of communication today and sets the precedent for where it will stand in the future.