Web 2.0 and Trial by the Masses
Contributed by Jessica Greenwood:
I, and no doubt thousands like me, have been closely following the case in which an Erasmus student was murdered last week in Italy. Erasmus is an exchange programme in which European universities allow students to study for a year abroad. I did my own Erasmus year at Bologna University, not far from Perugia where Meredith Kercher was killed.
It’s obviously a high profile case given that the victim was young, beautiful and intelligent, and although precious few details are forthcoming, we know that Kercher’s death was both physically and sexually brutal. In addition to this, it’s throwing up all sorts of interesting questions about the way in which web 2.0 is having an effect on the way in which we appropriate news events. The minute tragedy strikes, the contents of personal web pages – whether of the victim, or the perpetrator – become a source of endless discussion. Facebook and MySpace pages are now seen as a fair and accurate way in to that person’s character and personality, yet the divide that still exists between the person that we actually are and the person we project ourselves as being in an online environment is never taken into account.