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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

At number 5: the Aurora theatre shooting

Before the terrible tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, just a few days ago, the massacre at the movie house in Aurora, Colorado, seemed to be the most incomprehensible of calamities. We now know that something truly evil lurks in the shadows and can happen at any moment.

But what made the Aurora tragedy such an important moment for #SMEM? To me, it marked the generalized realization that news breaks on social media, particularly on Twitter. This makes monitoring and keeping situational awareness through social networks a must. Most of us can now follow unfolding events in real time as people tweet, instagram, facebook and reddit them. We can build instant stories based on what's being shared. Social networks even help create a sense of collective empathy. 

The legacy media has picked up on that and to remain relevant, they too jump on the social bandwagon when incidents occur. Why not? They now have thousands upon thousands of "citizen reporters" they don't have to pay. So they maintain pretty solid social media monitoring postures.

What's the price for not being "socially convergent aware"? Ask the NRA (again?)
 or a UK online retailer (CelebBoutique), how they felt when they sent automated tweets hours after the incident ...without really being aware of what had just happened.





The lesson here? Monitoring social media is now an essential part of maintaining situational awareness ... and you must have a plan to ramp up from routine social listening to a full on social surveillance program when an incident occurs. Are you ready for that? 

To me, the attention brought to the role social networks played in getting the story out, makes the Aurora shooting number 5 on my list of top 10 SMEM-related events of the year.


The series so far: 

Series introduction (Dec. 5,m 2012)
#10: the Israel-Hamas War (Dec. 9, 2012)
#9: the wildfires in the western US (Dec. 12, 2012)
#8: the SMEMTO conference (Dec. 16, 2012)
#7: the lauch of FEMA's SMEM course (Dec. 17, 2012)
# 5: The Aurora shooting (Dec. 26, 2012)

Jim Garrow's list on his blog: The Face of the Matter 





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