Boston bombings: Social media spirals out of control

A thoughtful analysis.

Problem-solvers in the Information Age must train themselves to ignore floods of true-but-trivial and unreliable-but-accessible information. I see this all the time with students who Facebook their way through my class presentations on the function of scholarly peer review, but then submit pages from content farms in their term paper drafts.

20130420-093140.jpgAccording to Murray Jennex, a crisis management expert at San Diego State University, the huge influx of online voices enabled by social media can be extremely helpful because eye witnesses are holding cameras in almost every location.

But beyond the photos they upload, their speculation and theorizing don’t necessarily lead to a more efficient resolution.

“There is just a lot of meaningless noise out there,” he said, noting that law enforcement and disaster management institutions can be overwhelmed by useless tips in a crisis. “People see trends and patterns that aren’t really trends and patterns.” —latimes.com.