Social media activity
The map below shows the Twitter traffic with 200 posts tagged with a location out of a set of 500,000 with hashtag #BostonMarathon from the tragic day of the attack (an explosion of tweets in one day!) Made by a student at Syracuse University.
During the during the manhunt for Dzjochar Tsarnajev, one of the two accused brothers, about eight fake accounts appeared on Twitter. Some accounts are clearly meant as a joke, while others seem to have arisen mostly out of sympathy for the perpetrator. @dzhokhartsarnae wrote: “I get so tired of people misspelling my name”. While @DzhokaTsarnaev tweeted the message ‘I innocent’ and @DzhokharTsarna1 let everyone know: “I just turned 19 and I’m not going to murder people if I can party and enjoy my life.”
A fake account goes poetic with a quote from Shakespeare
There were twitterers who thought about?enriching?themselves and capitalize on the emotions that were expressed shortly after the attacks. For example an account that does so in the name of the organization of the Boston Marathon to raise money for the victims. With just an undercore of difference: @_BostonMarathon is the fake one and the real account is @BostonMarathon.
Media coverage and the role of social media
All traditional media did their best to be first in bringing the “breaking news”. CNN and the Boston Globe?were quickto bring the scoops. Live blogs such as AP (Associated Press) and The New York Post tried to keep pace but it was not easy. Reuters even fired their own social media reporter and The New York Post had been nominated for the “Wooden Spoon” award (an award for bad reporting). Because they first mentioned about 12 deaths from the explosion, than report a big front page photo of two innocent students labeled “bag men” without any context, to only to end up with a message about a Saudi Arabian suspect that was held at an undisclosed hospital ?in Boston. But the NPR radio (U.S. equivalent of the BBC) was also wrong with a supposed third suspect. Almost every major media tycoon made ??mistakes in the hope to bring the first scoops or be unique.
Wooden Spoon awards are given to organizations with the worst customer service.
The witch hunt by the army of civilian detectives on Twitter and Reddit gave a lot of false information that was taken for granted by the media. It subsequently had to be corrected again, as the speculations about the suspects grew. Also ‘conspiracy theories’ took over about Saudi perpetrators or the U.S. government that would be behind the attacks, which caused a lot of unrest. Add to that the shocking images displayed on every channel over and over again. Mark Schwarze, editor of the Rhein-Zeitung tweeted?about?the traditional media: “Grown-up media do not show people with torn-off limbs.” “We should show nothing that my 10-year-old can’t sleep after. Describing it ‘graphic’ or ‘NSFW’ drives me nuts.” In which he referred to the warnings of the pictures where mutilated bloody victims were shown.
Despite the many new media sites, the news was still first and perhaps best to follow on Twitter. The newsreader has become increasingly self-reliant in newsgathering and determining (if possible) what to read or look into and what not. The hope for newsmedia being the filter is changing, because each party wants to bring unique reporting attracting the online viewer. But that is difficult to do when everyone already follows the same Twitterers. Also, Google and Bing try to bring services in the real-time news trend, but it remains difficult to get the last and complete overview. This keeps fact checking for the reader particularly difficult. Take for example fact checking the rumor about the perpetrators robbing a?7-11 convenience store?right before their act.
Only NBC’s Pete Williams was clear in his publications, in which he published solely facts and clearly indicated if he had something that had not been verified. The essence of journalism is the process of selection,” Williams noted in a National Journal profile .