Social Media and the Tragedy at Virginia Tech


Social Media and the Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Apr 18, 2007By Michael Stoner

Yesterday, c|net reported that media-including NPR, MTV News, CBE Newsworld-were sourcing blogs and bloggers. 

Information Week reported that, with the paper’s webserver offline, reporters for the Virginia Tech newspaper, the Collegiate Times, filed blog entries on their parent company’s website as they struggled to confirm the shootings and report details of the tragedy.

And at AOL, a former classmate of the accused shooter, Cho Seung-Hui, posted two plays that he wrote.

Today, NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story about how students were using social media like MySpace and Facebook to respond the tragedy, saying “The most visible form of grieving is online, on social media like MySpace and Facebook.” Audio for that report here.

And over at, Blair, a student at Gettysburg College, posted an entry entitled “VTech Victim Memorials on Facebook”. The entry points to official Facebook Memorial Pages, and to the memorial pages of shooting victims [note: you need to be registered for Facebook to view these sites].

At the Facebook group “A tribute to those who passed at the Virginia Tech Shooting,” for example, there are links to video tributes on YouTube, nonprofit organizations, and the candlight memorial at Virginia Tech, among many others.

Back at, Blair remarks,

I doubt there is a word out there that can actually describe what happened yesterday. All I know is, I was comforted when I saw how much love, concern and support is out there on other campuses … in something as small as a group on facebook. My heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones. 

There’s an excellent Wikipedia entry about the tragedy, here.

ADDED 19 April: In the aftermath of the shootings, with the campus locked down and limited mobile phone service, students turned to social media to let others know that they were ok. Reporting here from eSchool News and an early report from Blog P.I.

  • Michael Stoner Co-Founder and Co-Owner Was I born a skeptic or did I become one as I watched the hypestorm gather during the dotcom years, recede, and congeal once more as we come to terms with our online, social, mobile world? Whatever. I'm not much interested in cutting edge but what actually works for real people in the real world. Does that make me a bad person?