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Was the Virginia Tech-shooter a vlogger? April 19, 2007

Posted by John in Technology.
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Three days after the horrifying massacre att Virginia Tech bloggers are involved in an intense discussion on how to lable the material that murderer Cho Seung-Hui sent to NBC in between the killings and if it was right to broadcast them.

On scripting.com Dave Winer states “vlogging comes to mass murder, in ways no one anticipated (or no one I know)”. After having watched the material on MSNBC Winer describes it as “amazing stuff” and argues that they should all be released in Quicktime form – with no editorial judgement.

So -should the full multi-media package Cho prepared be released? In a statement NBC News say they took careful consideration in determining how the information should be distributed. The network believes that the parts that have been shown provides “some answers to the critical question, why did this man carry out these awful murders?”

If released, what impact will the material have? On BuzzMachine.com Jeff Jarvis writes that he understands Micah Sifrys view on Personal Democracy Forum that the father in him doesn’t want his kids discovering this on the internet. But, Jervis states, the essential infrastructure of news and media has changed forever: There is no control point anymore.

We will probably never get the full answer to what part technology and user generated content actually played in this tragic event. Should the murder be considered a vlogger or should he be described more as a terrorist, trying to draw attention like the “classic” terrorists of the 80:ies and 90:ies? After all, Cho Seung-Hui didn’t broadcast his actions live he sent a message that was opened afterwords. To use Micah Sifrys words: “if Cho had wanted us all to see these videos unexpurgated, he could have posted them to youTube, no?”

The blogger at Webomatica.com writes “I find myself repeating: technology is just a tool. Harm comes from how individuals choose to employ it. Technology could be a cell phone, a blog, FaceBook, a video camera, an Internet connection… or a gun.”

An even more important question: Will the material attract copycats if its spread widely? That remains for experts and sholars in psychology to answer.

By John Furrier and Tina Magnergard Bjers

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