The Future of Social Media

The time is quickly approaching when perpetrators can be hoisted by their own patard. Bragging or being short-sighted enough to post pictures or send a Tweet has already landed some people in hot water. It’s not a futuristic idea to think of people being reported and arrested through social platforms. Recently a meme about killing a sisters boyfriend resulted in it’s creator being investigated after he admitted it was partially true. Long ago, in 2008, the NYPD added a number to it’s anonymous tip line, as well as website postings.

npydcrimestoppers.com offers tipsters a forum where they can post information of a suspected crime as well as access mugshots of “most wanted”. The cities current hotline, 800-577-TIPS, offers up to $2,000 if a tip pans out and has assisted in over 2,500 crimes being solved over 25 years. Anonymous by-standers can text TIP577 and their tip to 274637, or CRIMES.

I’m somewhat amused when the day is upon us when Instagrams are posted of actual crimes. With a nice sepia tone, it’ll look like a store is being robbed in the 1930’s, and no one will be the wiser.. until they see the date stamp and realize you’re stealing a 3D-TV..

The future may already be upon us, if that’s the case. After the Boston bombing, the police released surveillance footage of the suspected bombers. It exploded over social media. Within hours of the footage being released, police had both men’s names and tips on where they might be. Reddit was abuzz with updates and leads on the two men, and even managed to correct the social-sphere when a wrong photo was passed around. As Editor-in-Chief of Mashable.com Lance Ulanoff observed; “your phone is always in your pocket and you can check the news right there.” That access allows people to be informed and kept up to date with the latest wherever they are and what to look out for. Twitter was chirping up a storm with updates from everyone from eyewitnesses and police to the Boston Mayor.

One photo taken immediately after the bombings managed to capture the younger attacked walking away from the scene. Once he was a confirmed suspect, it was just another tool for the social sphere to spread around, making connections and exponentially increasing the chances of recognition.

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