In the aftermath of a horrific evening of protesting in Ferguson Missouri, after the announcement related to Darren Wilson not being indicted for the shooting death of Michael Brown, community leaders and social organizers turned to a handful of twitter handles (notably: Netta @nettaaaaaaaa and DeRay @deray), tumblr accounts and web sites for instructions on where to meet, maps of gathering spots, text alerts and other important information related to the evening.
Around the world, interested parties used fergusonresponse.tumblr.com to organize their geographically represented response locations. At a glance, the references provided supporting sites to non-violent activist material and other useful information related to peaceful protesting. But, after the tear gas settled it was apparent that the proper planning and backing from government officials and Ferguson leaders to be peaceful was just not enough.
NoIndictment.org was a valiant attempt but broadcasts showed out of control looting, expletives and utter chaos. Social media in Ferguson became an outlet for more photos, tweets, posts and videos of the action as it happened. While social media is good for showing the truth as it happens it didn’t lend itself to amplifying a persuasive message of containment and peace until over 60 individuals were arrested and dozens of fires and buildings had been torched.
The evening came off as embarrassing, disturbing and distasteful toward America’s right to assemble, activism and community organization. Time really didn’t get the epic fail of social media on Monday night by posting, “Don’t Blame the Social Media” in a retrospect that echoed the “whole world is watching” antagonistic mantra. Social media failed to show the world how a community can express their anger and opinions in a non-violent manner.