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George Zimmerman Verdict Stars on Social Media

July 14, 2013 9:47 PM
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By now, we have come to recognize that the news spreads fastest and truest on social media, not in newspapers or on TV.

When a story as explosive as the George Zimmerman verdict -- not guilty -- occurs in the United States, it is only natural that it will have seismic implications for Facebook and Twitter.

The Florida jury's divisive decision on Saturday night sent off shock waves right away. 

People who thought that the security guard Zimmerman acted properly in defending himself against a potentially violent African-American teen were relieved. 

Those who felt that Zimmerman had exhibited the worst kind of age-old racist violence himself were outraged and appalled. 

The media predictably reacted by going for the red-meat aspects of the story. This is what they do.

But the social-media sites offered a texture for the story. What you get so comprehensively on the Web is the nation's reaction. 

I don't know about you, but I have a cross-section of red and blue state Facebook friends, and they were all fairly vocal about how they felt (especially the angry liberal contingent).

It is a testament to Facebook and Twitter that the verdict could somehow bring us together -- despite our vastly different political and societal views on race, guns, violence and the like.

I'm rapidly concluding that the social-media sites are doing more than encroaching on the sanctity of the nation's newspapers. The sites are rendering the mainstream media less important because of the immediacy and human emotion that they offer.

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