Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: April 18th, 2013
Can social network sites find the Boston bombers?

It’s a legitimate question, especially in light of all the traffic and crowdsourcing we’re seeing on Reddit, a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content and respond to each other.

Under the subhead, “findbostonbombers,” the site is attracting an enormous amount of attention as participants pour over and sift through the huge glut of amateur video and photos of the event, all already available online or being posted online by additional Redditors, as they’re called.

The threads of conversation, while fascinating, border on accusatory, zeroing on suspects who could be just innocent bystanders. Much of the focus is on exacting minute details from photos to find clues to who is responsible for the attack. Posts include photos with circles around suspects faces or lines pointing to what could be incriminating details–all with the mutual goal of finding the responsible parties.

While some consider this a dangerous task that should be left up to the FBI, especially since it targets people who could be innocent, others view it as a much broader experiment, testing the power of social networking in a way that has yet to be tested before–actual crime solving by the online masses.

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