Published on March 20th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria8
Trayvon Martin Case Another Example of Social Media’s Ability to Affect Change
The Trayvon Martin case was almost destined to go viral, given the blatant injustice and just basic tragedy at its core- but as the incident attracts attention at the federal level, it also illustrates how social media is shining a light with intense wattage.
In contrast to the Arab Spring and Occupy movement, the murder of Trayvon Martin is a smaller scale event, but one that (rightfully) sparked intense outcry. You’ve probably seen it shared at least once on Facebook or Twitter, and as the story of the black teen killed for walking through the wrong white neighborhood spreads, so does the outrage. The clinching horror, however, is that Martin’s killer George Zimmerman- who stalked the 17-year-old step-by-step before shooting him to death- detailed every move he made to a 911 operator before the murder, and yet still walks free.
Thanks to the viral nature of the story (not just clicking “like,” but users actively seeking to share the information), Zimmerman may not be out of jail for long. Just days after the February 26th incident’s details began to go viral at a national level, both the FBI and the DOJ announced investigations into the case. Social media maven Peter Shankman commented on the story’s power, and how it may secure that Martin’s death will not go unpunished:
“There are so many aspects of this story that make this a story that people want to share and want to tell… Fifty years ago, you could have shared it, but your reach would have been much smaller. You would have shared it with your friend, or at work, or in a letter to the editor. What’s new is everyone having the ability to do that at their fingertips.”
Do you think the Trayvon Martin case would have gone unnoticed if not for social media outrage?