Did social media tools let us down?
Posted by Susan Scrupski on April 19, 2007
I’m a little surprised no one in my regular blogging circle is commenting on the Virginia Tech massacre. I know the story is still unfolding, but I spotted this piece in Wired. The article is about the need for next-generation emergency alert systems, but a few paragraphs spoke to me:
As the carnage unfolded, eyewitnesses IM’d terrifying firsthand accounts to their friends, some of which appeared on blogs and MySpace within minutes of the shootings. Yet students complained that the first official word they heard about a killer on campus came a full two hours after two students were shot to death in a nearby dorm, just as their suspected attacker opened fire again in an academic building on the other side of campus.
Why, given the ubiquity of SMS-enabled cell phones and the growing popularity of social networking and communication tools like Twitter and dodgeball.com, did it take so long for news to reach students that class had been canceled and that students should stay in their dorm rooms?
A few weeks ago, the blogosphere was giddily publishing the widespread popularity of Twitter at SXSW. How is it possible that Virginia TECH students were so uninformed?
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