Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

Whilst the shocking events at Virginia Tech yesterday were fully covered by the media, it was the bloggers and flickr users who portrayed the unfoldings of the tragedy, the grief, and the anguish, better than any news station. Within hours blogs held firsthand accounts, pictures had been uploaded to flickr, before the evening a VT Memorial group was set up by the facebook community and a comprehnsive entry adorned wikipedia. The reporters sniffed this out in minutes. Looking through some of the blogs and seeing the endless messages from CNN, MTV, CBC, BBC, every media company imaginable, to "get in touch" to supply them with first hand stories I feel slightly sickened. Once again the bloggers are doing their jobs for them, but for the bloggers it's not a job, it's their lives, in many cases lives that have been rocked beyond belief. The public nature of the blog puts emotions on show, and when those emotions become the focus of the media it can be hard comprehend, as one of the most media-sought bloggers writes:

"This is ridiculous. I find myself getting excited because I'm on the news (Fox News recently shared the blog). Each time I hear something else I get a brief moment of selfish joy before I am stabbed in the heart, realizing that I deserve no credit and that lives are gone, destroyed, and in pain. What is the significance of all this? My postings are simply what I always do-- except I left my thoughts for the public instead of just my friends. This run of emotions is hard to bear. I need to go for a walk-- but of course, what good is that since everything is outside my door. There is no escaping. The chains have been tied to the door."

It's easy to forget that as a blogger the world can see your words, not just you and your friends. We are wearing our lives on our sleaves.

I think that these days it's easy to become numb to the news, every day so many horrible things are reported to be happening in the world. But the unedited "informal" reports and stories that flood the internet, from the mouths and the eyes of the people that experience them, bring me down to earth. They elicit a greater reaction in me than a man stood with a microphone next to a big white news van on the edge of the VT campus twisting language for politics. Reporters without borders.

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