Friday, April 19, 2013

Trolling the online world

We all live in the online world.

I work in it.

Twitter, Facebook. You name it; I'm on it.

We now have the ability to deliver information, photos and video instaneously 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

That doesn't mean we should. I just lived through just such an occurrence.

A ton of online speculation has swirled around the identity of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings since photos of the two suspects were released by the FBI around 6 last night.

That was compounded around 1 a.m. when a wild shootout took place in a Boston suburb. One of the suspects was killed. So was a police officer. The second suspect - known to most as the guy in the white hat - fled the scene. There is a manhunt ongoing for him. Much of the Boston area is locked down.

Thanks to the Internet, the world's focus for hours was on the young man in the white hat. Twitter and Facebook were full of possible IDs, including one that was important in this region because speculation focused on the possibility that the teen was from this area.

As I was driving into the office this morning, my stomach was churning, thinking about how we would cover what was an international story with a local angle.

I listened as the host on the local sports talk radio station clearly identified the young man. Once in the office I saw the online explosion, all of which focused on "our" guy as Suspect No. 2 in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Only one problem with that.

It wasn't him. The young man in the white hat has now been identified as one of two Chechen brothers. He's Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.

It's been sent as a text alert. Tweeted. Posted on Facebook. It resides on our web page. All news, all the time. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year. It can wear on your after awhile.

The world moves on.

But it makes me wonder where we're going.

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