The Dark Knight Rises, Social Media & the Colorado Shooting
July 21, 2012 Leave a comment
“Who can fathom the whys of the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater screening of the new Batman film early Friday? The human toll is what matters, but this type of event has wide-ranging repercussions that will touch all of our lives. Although I haven’t seen it yet, I know that this is a very dark and in many ways bleak film. This is not going to be the type of movie one goes to forget these types of issues. It’s not an escapist action feature.
Films usually draw the most during the first two weekends of a run. In this case, although The Dark Night Rises is going to receive non-stop media attention, this is not the type of coverage any film studio would hope for. Who knows? In the long run it could perhaps help ticket sales, since the amount of media coverage it will receive will be overwhelming. People who are diehard fans will go regardless. On the other hand, those who were simply curious about the film or those who are younger and would be going with their families or would need their parent’s permission could very well stay away.
We are in a different media world now and social media is in a very real sense driving the story. There are already reports of false social media alerts, etc. There are some troubled people out there who will think it is funny to use this tragedy for their social media fun. That could keep the alert at a high level, which in turn could keep people out of the theatres.
Social media has changed how we document events, how we perceive them and how we respond to them. The way we learned about Columbine in 1999, or 9/11 was very different than how we are learning about this shooting. The after-effects of such events are dealt with in a very different way in this new media landscape. Social media can be a very powerful information source to help report on and document stories as they happen. But the information can also be false and misleading. As to reporting the story after the fact, social media is more personal, more immediate but often more skewed. Unlike reports in traditional media outlets, in the social media world, there is no third party verification in place. It’s instantaneous and there is no filter.
“We are analyzing all social media and are already finding that there are a lot of pranks,” Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates explained in a televised news conference on Friday. And in this current climate, such pranks can be very dangerous and hurtful. The impact on those personally affected is something the rest of us won’t ever truly understand. The impact on the film is minor in comparison. Whereas we can’t stop the horror that already happened, we can collectively control how we deal with the aftermath. If there was ever a time for compassion and empathy, this is it.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012
Andrieski, Ed. “An Aurora Police officer talks on his radio outside of the Century 16 theater at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012.” Photo. CBS NEWS. 20 July 2012. 20 July 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57477132/30-hospitalized-in-colo-mass-shooting/>