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Continued: Angst abounds as people tweet during tragedy

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 7, 2013 - 3:34 PM

“I’m sometimes so stunned by [a tragedy] that I don’t end up tweeting because I’m processing,” he said. Other times, “I don’t feel like I need to say something.”

Mostly he keeps using social media as he would any other day.

“You should just do what feels natural to you,” he said.

To tweet or not to tweet

For Arik Hanson, owner of Minneapolis-based ACH Communications, that usually means keeping his thoughts on tragedies to himself rather than joining the online discussion.

“I will rarely, if ever, discuss politics or religion. This kind of falls almost in that camp,” said Hanson, who did not tweet anything about the deadly tornado even though his Twitter feed was filled with condolences and well wishes.

“It’s not because I don’t care,” he said. “I don’t feel like I have that much to add.”

But Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, who was immersed in social media chatter about the Minnesota Legislature when the tornado tore through Moore, thought it was important to acknowledge the event, tweeting: “Thoughts and prayers are with the victims and public safety workers in Oklahoma. Tragic story.”

He also retweeted condolences from the Scott County sheriff and a message from Willie Nelson explaining how people could donate to the Red Cross by text.

“From a leadership standpoint, it’s important to make sure people know that you care,” Tabke said. “If it were my community that were the subject of some disaster, I would hope that people would recognize that, as well.”

But he didn’t pull back from the social media conversations about the Legislature.

“It’s important to be respectful of what is going on,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean all lives around the world need to stop.”


Katie Humphrey • 612-673-4758


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