April 17, 2013

Despite my railings about electronic devices and social media, they are critical tools for life in the 21st century.  As with most things, it is in how the technology is used that is critical (and can be criticized).

In this case, the FBI and Boston Police have requested the images and video shot during the marathon with the idea that someone, perhaps inadvertently, recorded a key piece of evidence.  Let us hope so.

Thoughts and condolences to all who have suffered in this event.

Take care.

UPDATE:  This would appear to be an example of both the good and bad of social media and image-making.  NPR did a story about an article in Slate magazine concerning the social-news site Reddit-the article is entitled “Reddit Thinks It Can Solve the Boston Bombings“.  Please read the article as this story appears to encapsulate the power and the danger of social media and technology.  Richard Jewell indeed.  We do live in a culture where forensic and police procedural shows dominate television.  However, being a fan and watching such shows does not make one an expert at crime scene analysis.  As is often said, a little knowledge can be dangerous as folks can easily draw conclusions without additional supporting evidence.  Given the sensitivity surrounding such an investigation, and the issue of terrorism in general, one would need to be especially careful and diligent before identifying suspects.  This is after all, NOT a game or a television show.

It is also important to note that there is a mechanism by which social media can monitor itself-user comments.  The very same process that generates such behaviour of concern, can, ideally, hopefully, check the runaway process that characterizes posts going viral.  The last paragraph of the article fortunately advises just such caution.  Of course, being preemptive can be better than being reactive.  Do not jump to conclusions in the first place.



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