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‘Twittering’ During a Campus Lockdown

Over on the blog bavatuesdays, a professor tells of a visit yesterday to the University of Richmond for a lecture that was interrupted by a lockdown following reports of a gunman on the campus. As the audience sat in a dark, locked room awaiting their fates, hoping and praying that tragedy wouldn’t befall another Virginia university, they began communicating and comforting each other via Twitter.

“I found the act to be really soothing,” Jim Groom, an instructional-technology specialist and adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington, wrote on his blog. “People at UR were sharing information and giving advice to one another, while the larger network from around the world was sending regards, prayers, questions, and their well wishes.

“I had a very powerful sense that those ‘others’ were there with us from beyond that lab, or even the UR campus. I can’t fully explain why that felt so good, someone even offered a Safety dance from abroad, nothing like a laugh during a moment of untold strangeness. …

“For those thinking about a means to manage a crisis, I would put Twitter, or an application like it at the top of the list. It proved invaluable today for all sorts of reasons, and it made all the other means of connecting with others and collecting information dreadfully inadequate.”

Here’s a link to Mr. Groom’s tweets from the day. —Catherine Rampell

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