Social Media Spreads Word of Colorado Shooting

Published: Jul. 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va -- Many people at the Colorado movie theater were quick to pull out their cell phones and start tweeting information and videos when the shooting happened. Twitter lit up Friday morning as the news broke, with information coming from the scene under the hashtag “theatershooting”.

Several movie goers also had cell phone videos and photos, which they posted on YouTube and Facebook.

Brian Kaylor is a James Madison University communications professor and he said seeing these unfiltered videos changes our impressions of these events and makes them more real.

"The footage is shaky. There's people running and screaming, panicking,” said Kaylor. “You can see blood on people. So it's a really different way of seeing that story than we would've before the rise of YouTube."

He said the challenge in the future will be learning when it is appropriate to share or capture such graphic video. These videos certainly do shape our perspective on them.