The impact of social media on Sunday’s looting

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – It’s on the minds and out of the mouths of many, the death of Michael Brown and this weekend’s ensuing protests and looting.

But is social media a help or a hindrance in modern day?

‘In some ways it can add fuel to the fire but in other ways social media helps people know where these events are happening so you can crowd source,’ says Amber Hinsley, Assistant Professor of Journalism at St. Louis University.  ‘Or, is it safe to leave my house?’

Amber Hinsley is an assistant professor of journalism at St. Louis University.
She’s been keeping an eye online on the developing story.

‘So you get two very different narratives based on which hashtag you’re following on Twitter,’ says Hinsley.  ‘So if you’re following something like Michael Brown or Ferguson versus If they gun me down.’

Hinsley believes the tales of a city and region can be best attained through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

‘This isn’t black and white,’ says Hinsley.  ‘This isn’t one side or the other side.  There are a lot of different voices you wouldn’t necessarily be hearing if you turned on the evening news or picked up a newspaper.’

And is ever the case, there is something to learn from this weekend.

‘Sometimes it takes an incident like this happening for it to have people recognize that we do have larger issues,’ says Hinsley.  ‘This is something that we need to address that in person it’s easy to brush under the table and social media helps bring some of these uncomfortable conversations to the forefront and force us to have these conversations we really need to be having.’

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