What is Social Media's Role in National Events? - WRBL

What is Social Media's Role in National Events?

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Millions of people have taken to social media to give their view on the George Zimmerman verdict. A local social media expert says posting on social media sites can be a cathartic experience which can have a bigger social impact.

Wesley Ker-Fox, director of social media at Naartjie Multimedia, says social media gives people a platform to express their opinions and could potentially lead to less violent actions after national trials.

Wesley Ker-Fox says violent riots have occurred in the past after national events like the Rodney King trial in the early 90's.

"Possibly you could think the absence of social media led to a need for the population to get their thoughts out and they expressed it through riots," says Ker-Fox. He says the social media platform gives people a way to get involved.

"It gives us a sense of action like we're doing something about a situation even if it's in a totally passive way," says Ker-Fox.

CSU professor Dr. John Studstill says social media can get people active as well. "I think that after they've talked and read what everybody else has to say they actually want to get out there and put their bodies on the line," says Studstill.

But voicing opinions on social media isn't always beneficial to real relationships. A Pew Institute study says that 18% of social media users have defriended, unfollowed or blocked other friends for having differing opinions on issues.

"We are seeing almost the true nature of peoples characteristics come out," says Dr. Florence Wakoko. She says people should think twice before posting things on social media. She says it's not always a negative experience.

"It's actually helping to bring more and more people together especially  when the message resonates with their feelings," says Dr. Wakoko.

The young minority leaders of Columbus will come together on Saturday to hold a peace rally for Trayvon Martin as a part of the 100 City Vigil. It will take place at noon in the courtyard of the government center.


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