APRIL 17, 2013
Maybe it does serve a purpose

I have previously written that I am not a fan of social media. I have never posted things about my personal life on Facebook or, as my dad calls it, “the Twitter.”

I don’t understand why everybody feels the need to broadcast mundane stuff about their lives. Some critics say it’s the depressed people wanting to feign happiness. That’s up for debate, but that’s also not the point of this column.

Instead, for once, I praise social media in light of the Boston Marathon bombings because it allowed people to instantly “check in” and tell friends and family that they were OK after the terror attack.

Technology has evolved since 9-11 when there was no social media that gave people instant access. Text messaging was around but it wasn’t as commonplace as it is now. Instead, people jammed cellphone signals trying to make calls which overloaded the networks making it impossible to connect to loved ones.

Thanks to special apps and instant posting, victims or bystanders or simply people in the area of the Boston attack had an avenue to say, “Things are good. I am alright.”

Remember back in the day when you had to register with the Red Cross, put your name on a list, wait for a special 800 number to go public and sit nervously waiting for good news? Not anymore. That’s a good thing. I’m not a complete cynic.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still bothered when people act as amateur reporters and mini news outlets rehashing stuff from the Internet. Not only does it compromise journalistic integrity but it doesn’t allow for a filter of fact checking and verification. Anybody can spew anything and in times of crisis it doesn’t help make the situation any clearer.

While I applaud those who used social media to track down or contact loved ones, I still groan when I read people’s 140-character news headlines they post in an attempt to be the new Lloyd Robertson.
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