Monday, August 31, 2015

INTERNET - Viral Violence

QUESTION:  Is violence going viral on the internet different from violence gone 'viral' on TV news?

"When a shooter’s violent video goes viral" PBS NewsHour 8/27/2015


SUMMARY:  A shocking, televised murder in Virginia has provoked a wide array of questions about the shooter and how horrific images go viral online.  Gwen Ifill speaks with Deborah Potter of NewsLab; Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent and editor-at-large at Mashable, and Barry Rosenfeld of Fordham University.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  We look now at what made this latest shooting sadly familiar and shockingly different with Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent & editor at large at Mashable, the digital media Web site; Barry Rosenfeld, a professor of psychology and director of clinical training at Fordham University; and Deborah Potter, the founder of NewsLab, a nonprofit journalism resource center.  She is also a former television news correspondent and anchor.

Lance Ulanoff, was it only a matter of time before someone live-tweeted something so horrific?

LANCE ULANOFF, Mashable:  Yes, unfortunately, I think that’s true.

We are never without our technology.  It surrounds us.  It permeates our lives.  We have powerful computers in our pockets, and we have been — you know, we are training our children from the youngest age to use social media, so it’s something that comes very naturally to us.

And what I noticed as part of this, this horrifying crime, is that the use of social media seemed to be kind of a natural act happening as he was doing these things.  It didn’t feel — that part of it didn’t feel particularly premeditated.

GWEN IFILL:  Well, not only his act, but also was it a natural act that people instinctively shared what he put up online?

LANCE ULANOFF:  Yes.  Yes, it is.

But, you know, it’s funny, because I look at this guy, Flanagan, and I think to myself, this is a person who committed a heinous crime who wasn’t in his right mind, and used social media in a way that terrifies me.  The people who reshared what they saw, I understand the impulse, because you see something, it’s newsworthy, that is what we do in this modern age.

But I am surprised that they didn’t stop for a moment and realize and think about what they were doing.  And that’s kind of where I think we probably have to take a closer look.

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