Ferguson was one of the topics trending this past summer. “Details surrounding the death of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, surfaced at light speed through social media.” Social media websites like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter have been the main form of transmission for Ferguson.
Michael Brown was an unarmed black teen that was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson at least six times on August 9th 2014. The details of the shooting are very controversial due to several accounts by witnesses, the police officer and Michael Brown’s friend. His body was laying on the ground for hours before it was retrieved by the police department. Photos, videos and tweets have since been uploaded like a wildfire. The entire situation blew up within 72 hours and it became a viral phenomenon throughout the nation.
“Social Media was the kerosene that turned fire in Ferguson into a national blaze.” Shortly after the shooting, the citizens of Ferguson started an uproar and there was civil unrest. Disturbing images of police violence and tactics used to neutralize the situation surfaced, leading to an online dispute. The hashtag #Ferguson has been tweeted almost 8 million times this month. Platforms like Twitter tend to highlight tensions rather than calm them. “I think it just goes back to the fact that Twitter is a giant echo chamber,” said Nikki Usher, a George Washington University assistant professor that studies social media, adding, “It’s an excellent forum for spreading misinformation and spreading exaggeration and fueling passion, and I think that tends to be a real negative consequence of being on the social media platform.”
Social media networks have also been the main form of interaction between protesters and their support system. Most people tend to go to social media to rant and post about the events that irk them. Every major media agency sent reporters to cover the situation, but reporters were detained and repelled. With journalists, people all over the world, celebrities, etc. publicizing about the treatment of media and their citizens and their opinions on the matter, the tension of this situation would take a lot of time to ease.
Featured Image Courtesy of R Gino Santa Maria