Yesterday afternoon I was scanning Twitter for possible blog post topics and I saw this:
Shots fired inside Ellicott City Walmart.
There were a handful of tweets from different sources, clustered in a one-hour period. My impression was that this was an ongoing situation. I went to Facebook to see if anyone knew anything.
Shots fired in Ellicott City Walmart?
The response was immediate.
Are you there?
I realized my mistake too late. Friends were seeing my post and assuming I was in danger. After a few minutes of trying to explain the situation, I deleted the entire post.
I’ve always thought I was a responsible user of social media but yesterday I was lazy. I didn’t do the additional research that would have shown that the event took place Saturday evening. And I posted to Facebook in a way that caused friends unnecessary alarm. It was the social media equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
In short, I screwed up.
The combination of ever-increasing incidences of mass shootings, combined with the hair-trigger immediacy of social media, puts us all on edge. And makes it easy to over-react. Jump to conclusions. Flail about in search of answers.
My apologies to anyone I may have frightened yesterday. I vow to do better.
Also, a recent (around 6 am) update on this ongoing story:
HoCoPD searching for gunman who wounded another shopper at the #EllicottCity #Walmart. Wounded man got his gun & shot at store @cbsbaltimore
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