Several long-running debates have been added to in a series of blog posts published over the weekend on the coverage on the military shooting at Fort Hood in Texas last week.
Starting with Paul Carr at TechCrunch, who discusses the value that social media and citizen journalism add to such happenings and also what role journalists or indeed cit-j’s should play in such situations – better to capture the moment or offer help?
“For all the sound and fury, citizen journalism once again did nothing but spread misinformation at a time when thousands people with family at the base would have been freaking out already, and breach the privacy of those who had been killed or wounded. We learned not a single new fact, nor was a single life saved,” writes Carr, referring specifically to Twitter updates allegedly coming from one soldier inside the Texas base.
“The discussion about the impact of social media on people’s privacy, behaviour and ethics has been going on for years, and there have been many, many examples of people using social tools in ways that can only be described as foolish.
“This is not, however, a reflection on social tools so much as it is a reflection of human nature: some of what gets done with social media is good and some is bad. This is not news, nor new.
“We do need some proper studies to see just what sort of effect these new social technologies are having, but going off on a moral panic about social tools is neither smart nor helpful.”
It’s worth reading both pieces in full and the comments left (which back up that these are long-standing points for discussion) – in particular, Howard Owens’ response to Charman-Anderson’s post: