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Social Media Journalism Gets Mixed Reviews In Boston Marathon Bombing

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roy_melony 300 Melony Roy
Melony Roy is the Social Media editor for KYW Newsradio 1060,...
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By Melony Roy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Boston Marathon bombing was the first major terror attack on American soil in the digital age of smartphones and social networks, creating a virtual manhunt and “citizen journalists.”

Within seconds of the first blast, social media filled with updates, photos, and videos from the Boston marathon. And a huge influx of information continued to flow until the capture of suspect #2.

But how big of a role did social media play in this investigation?

Assistant professor of culture and communication at Drexel University, Devon Powers, says, “I think what you saw was the development of almost a social media vigilante. That is, average citizens who felt it was their duty to pursue suspects and do all that they could to sort of help the police and help the FBI.”

There were a lot of clues, tips and speculation on various sites that led to at least three people being misidentified as the bombers.

“We have a tendency to be so hungry for information that we want to believe the things we see, especially in cases like this.”

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