Sociologists say Keep Things in Perspective - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Sociologists say Keep Things in Perspective

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The events of this past week have had the entire nation focused on the media in a much more intimate way than ever before. But the role of social media has had in getting information out this week is as unprecedented as the events themselves. 

More people know more about what the situation in Boston looks like because of social media. Millions of tweets and Facebook posts have captured the nation's attention with a closer view than ever before.

"It is indeed the most public investigation in America's history," said social media Professor at UNR, Todd Felts today.

"The whole community is caught up in the chase and the idea that the suspect will be caught soon," added UNR Professor of Sociology Dr. Marta Elliott.

And she added that it's the uncertainty of the situation that shatters our security.

"Our minds just to go the idea that if there are two people out there like this who can so easily plant bombs, there could be dozens of other people who could follow suit," she says. "But the odds are highly unlikely that something like that would ever happen here and effect us in Reno, Nevada. So you have to keep on telling yourself that."

And the fact that the FBI asked the public to get involved, during a national press conference earlier this week, marked a paradigm shift in its approach to investigations, according to Felts.

"It means that the old days when they posted a picture in the newspaper took on a whole new form," Felts says. "It means that the FBI has a social media strategy to get to the bottom of an investigation."

But there are pros and cons to getting information on the Internet. Yes, it's fast and yes you get it from a variety of views, but it's not vetted.

"Which means we need to be good consumers of information," says Felts.

And it means you'll want to be sure and keep an eye on the true news sources, like Channel 2, as well.

Written by Erin Breen

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