This morning, Twitter broke the story of the events in Watertown MA. Following the hashtags #Watertown and #MITShooting, I selected a few tweets from roughly 2:10- 2:15 AM Boston Time.
As I tried to sort fact and speculation, I was reminded of a post I did a few years ago What Happens in Schools When Life Has become an Open-book Test?
I grew up in an era of top-down information flow – book publishers, newspapers, magazines, network TV, radio. I was accustomed to someone else making decisions about what I should read, watch and listen to. They created information, I consumed it. … Fast forward to a digital age which has fractured the information flow – fragmenting it into ever smaller pieces: LP record > CD > single song download > ringtone. Now we are armed with gadgets that allow us to re-assemble the info bits; by-passing the curatorial function that had been served by the legacy mass media. Who needs a Walter Cronkite? I can be my own editor, reviewer, researcher and entertainment director. … What happens in schools when life has become an open-book test? … Students are adrift in a sea of text without context.
Note: A few hours has passed since these Tweets appeared and the connections between the Watertown event and the Boston Marathon bombing continue to unfold. Looks like Twitter’s crowdsourcing scooped the major new outlets. But are we ready to curate our own news?