Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Facebook the new town crier?

The other day  I covered a horrific tragedy in Bayonne, New Jersey.

A domestic dispute - the guy walked into the house, opened fire and shot four people - three fatally - before turning the gun on himself.

As I said, a horrible, horrible story.

I got right on it, arriving while the scene was still "fresh." A small crowd had gathered. Looking for some immediate information I polled the gawkers.

"Do you know the people in that house? Did you see what happened?"

Answer: "No, I don't live on this block. I'm here because it's already on Facebook."

On Facebook?

Maybe 20, maybe 30 people, gathered at this tragic scene. Not because they have any direct connection with any of the people. But because they got the word on Facebook.

It's one thing to read about how social media motivates people - as in the Arab Spring demonstrations. It's another to see it in action.

And it's a bit humbling. That people are not just turning to the Internet for news. But to Facebook, of all places - at least for the initial burst of raw information.

I've been scooped before, of course. But never before by a program designed to keep in touch with friends.

1 comment:

Allen said...

ty Gary
social network is new tools of community