Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can social media become a weapon of mass hysteria?

With the increase in crime in our neighborhood there was an inevitable increase in chatter on the listserv as to what the community could do. There was talk about setting up a Twitter account so that we could tweet about suspicious people or cars in the neighborhood. Never mind that people were already posting to the listserv on a somewhat of a real time basis. For example, someone walking home posted about police activity at a nearby intersection. There was also an increase in postings about what someone may have heard while talking to someone else, etc.

But … perhaps with a lack of events or incidents, the talk died down and we didn’t become massively hysterical. Which leads me to believe that perhaps social media cannot become weapons of mass hysteria. It would be interesting to see an analytical model of information with behavioral feedback applied to social media and its role in creating social action such as protests and revolutions.

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