The Role of Live Social Media in the Midst of Tragedy

Live social media – specifically Facebook Live – has become an invaluable method of delivering information to individuals during events and tragedies. To be able to live stream a conference or news report across a platform, which most people use, the information can be adequately relayed to a substantial number of the population. It is changing the way we receive news. Now, news is instant and shared; it’s a community. On June 12th, 2016, a horrific massacre took place in Orlando, Florida. As soon as the story broke, social media platforms were ablaze with shares of news stories, well wishes to the victims and the victims’ families, and live reports. Under the deemed hashtag of the tragedy on Facebook and Twitter, interested individuals were able to quickly find out what was going on, as well as gain access to live newscasts.

To anyone who grew up in a time of television and radio reports, it may seem strange – or even insensitive – to discuss emotional events on social media. However, in the modern era, news is now available at anyone’s fingertips. Facebook Live is becoming a resource that most journalists use to provide key information and warnings, which creates a safer and more educated environment for everyone. Even President Obama’s speeches are now broadcasted live from The White House’s official Facebook page. After the tragedy on June 12th, President Obama went live to make his statement – a speech that was viewed by 2.8 million people on Facebook Live. During the live broadcast, individuals were able to pay their respects through shares, reactions, and comments.

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