Friday, December 5, 2014

The weekly read

Did social media make the situation in Ferguson better or worse?
Nov. 25, 2014

Following the statements of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCullough the night the grand jury's decision was announced to not prosecute Officer Darren Wilson in the actions that led to the death of Michael Brown, protests in Ferguson, Missouri turned violent. While this was certainly not the first time in American history a decision such as this has caused violence, the question has been raised - what role did social media play in the creation of the unrest?

A Ferguson, Missouri firefighter surveys the damage after a night of unrest
This article, written by Mathew Ingram, explores the decisions and actions of several players and how they affected public perception of the facts of the case. This article provides a fascinating study of how differing accounts of the happenings of the events of August 9 have spread through social media platforms, and why it's important for all to read and vet data from multiple sources.

Social media has certainly changed the way information is released, and lessons learned from events such as Ferguson will help responses in the future.

Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida

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