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9 Articles Examine Social Media Impact on School Shootings


Social media during times of crisis can be met with mixed reviews and emotions. Some may find the real-time streaming repulsive, some may find the information necessary, and almost everyone will find it shocking. Social media as a tool is invaluable to first responders, classmates, parents, and news organizations during a school shooting, and using it in a responsible and clear way can curtail the length of these crises. The FBI statistics below detail a staggering increase in the number of fatalities from school shootings in 2017. The following nine articles examine the impact of social media during and after a school shooting to make positive, real, and lasting changes within communities so that the horrifying flash of another school shooting is no longer a part of our daily news.

 

Active Shooter Incidents Casualties per year

#1 Social Media and Disasters

This report examines the systematic use of social media as an emergency management tool which may include using platforms like Twitter to issue warnings or share updates, using social media to send aid to victims, communicate with impacted constituencies, and share images to visually communicate the damage. Social media is being used as a platform to expedite responses and aid during emergencies, and this report examines how organizations have benefited from its use.

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#2 Florida Lawmakers Working to Stop School Shootings

In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, lawmakers paid attention to the students' and broader community's demands that resulted in the creation of a centralized database to combine records from Florida's law enforcement and social services agencies with an individual's own social media accounts. The need for this action was long overdue and definitely warranted in light of the crisis that played out over social media and could have possibly been avoided.

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#3 Social media appears to affect severity of school shootings

A recent article examines extensive research conducted about mass shootings, correlations between social media and a shooter's actions, and how social media played an important role in this research. Using a scientific approach, the authors provide insight about the potential for future shootings.

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#4 We Say #Never Again

Students who lived through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting share their memories, fears, and hopes in this book that compiles their story and their collective determination to never let a school shooting happen again. From their time inside the walls of their classrooms to the aftermath and grieving process, the authors share their raw emotions and unequivocal commitment to their cause.

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#5 Communication in the face of a school crisis

Noting the relatively new communications approach through social media, the authors acknowledge that an affected community within a school is likely to post information on social media channels without knowing if it is entirely accurate or not. Putting aside the headache this causes for the School's Communications and Public Information Offices, the fact that social media is the preferred communications means by audiences is core to the argument of making social media the preferred means of communication by the school, and therefore meeting publics where they are.

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#6 Social Media as a Practical Approach in School Crisis Plans

This article explores the essential need for social media as part of crisis communications plans in schools, the advantages, disadvantages, and the reality of the power of the medium today.

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#7

Even though this article does not deal directly with a school shooting, there are multiple kinds of school crises that are either magnified or resolved using social media. In 2012, the University of Virginia dealt with changes in leadership which played out over social media channels. This article shows how critical it is to be present, listen, and to engage everywhere stakeholders are talking about an organization. In this crisis, social media was the tool that forced transparency
and corrective decisions from the UVA board.

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#8 Collective Intelligence in Disaster

This article examines the importance of collective intelligence during a school disaster and the public's reaction from the time that the shooting began to the point when it ended. This article addresses the social arrangements for managing the decentralized, distributed problem-solving which occurred outside official channels during the time of crisis. With the public's cooperation and support, information was gathered in near real-time and funneled to the central point of operations.

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#9 Screams and gunshots: Social media changed what the public sees

The first-hand accounts of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting created a shift in public perception of how social media is used and can aid emergency responders. Students are on the front lines and are agile users of smartphones and social media which makes them ad hoc journalists with significant responsibility to "get it right". Collectively, by sharing information, they helped law enforcement and curtailed the length of the tragedy.

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