Read about how social media can be a source of news for national crises and offer a new perspective to tragedies, through the lens of the recent Las Vegas shooting.
By: Kristin Butler
It is not an unpopular belief that social media and technology are advancing faster than humans can properly integrate it into daily life. We often let the technology use us, rather than us use our technology. Technology that was once made to enhance our world and connect us, to some, is now hindering our social reactions. Humans can be engulfed by social media and glued to their phones. Only ever caring about the amount of likes or views they get, how they look to strangers through this odd lens, or recording moments so often they forget to live them. It’s hard not getting caught up in it all.
But now with new technology and resources, the events happening within our lives spread faster due to social media and the way we leverage the technology. Twitter has been more effective for natural disaster rescue needs than 911 has ever been. News apps inform people around the world of events happening even as they are still happening. And even though we often record our lives through our cellphones, the incidents that occur during our filming materials into something we never would have had before. So, despite the often negative day to day feeling most individuals feel about technology, there are so many aspects where when the world needs us most, social media, and those that interact with it, step up.
Concerts are heavily recorded by the audience where phones are held high and small, illuminated screens surround you and stretch for miles. These moments are all recorded, like in the case of the mass shooting that happened on October 1, 2017. A gunman opened fire on a large crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Los Vegas strip, and Snapchat was one of the first materials that was used when videos were released. Because of this human need to record most of our lives for the use of social media, hundreds of videos were provided from multiple moments and perspectives. A new resource was born. You can even look at the live footage videos here that snapchat made into a location on their app – something that had never been done before.
The effect social media had on this accident doesn’t end there, however. Thousands of celebrities turned to Twitter to use their platform to inform, send prayers, and update the world, including Jason Aldean, the country singer who was performing during the festival shooting. Other celebrities voiced their sorrow and prayers for those effected from the mass shooting as well, such as peer country singers Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, and other celebrities including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Harry Styles, Rihanna, Chance the Rapper, Sam Smith, John Legend, and more. Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night host, even shared an article speaking about Las Vegas being more than a strip of casinos, but a community, and gave links for those to be able to find out where they could donate blood.
The Vegas victims from the mass shooting have portraits circulating all over the internet, ensuring their names, lives, and passions are shared for the world to see. Without this resource, those individuals would merely be a number to the public. All 59 killed. That would be all we know. On news sites, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social media platform is used, now more than ever, we feel a personal connection with all those affected by the incident. We don’t just know the number, we know their names. These efforts bring more awareness, relief, and understanding to the audience receiving the information.
The ways social media and PR are used to release information and inform others in wake of an incident is inspiring and heart-warming. How we connect during these times is how we should use the platform on a daily basis. Hope, support, awareness, and positivity should always be spread. Despite the worries we have in our everyday lives, even if it’s your friends or your family being too consumed in technology, it is clear that when we need to step up, we do. Our incident response has never been better due to social media, and with innovation in technology quickly advancing, we can only hope our next steps include incident prevention.