Outrage in 140 characters(+): The Casey Anthony Trial

It is no secret that media plays a role in each of our lives. It is also no secret that social media is revolutionizing the way Americans receive their news every day. A perfect example of this phenomenon is the Casey Anthony trial. Many of us in the office have been riveted to the trial and have had daily conversations as it progressed. Many of these discussions were sparked by social media updates. These updates can be from media sources that have linked their stories to social media or from friends within our networks. Either way the news flies across the computer screen faster than anyone could have predicted 20 years ago.

For those who can remember the OJ trial and the media hype that ensued it was impossible to not make comparisons this week as the Casey Anthony case came to its dramatic conclusion.  Both network and cable news stations broke into their regular programming to air live coverage of the verdict.   As with the OJ verdict, the public was stunned and disappointed.

The following morning all 3 major network news shows led with the story and all the news magazine shows are jockeying for interviews with the various players involved with the case including jurors and attorneys from the defense team.

During the 7 week trial, the cable news networks devoted considerable air time to covering the daily happenings.  Former prosecutor Nancy Grace of Headline News turned the case into her own personal crusade referring to Casey as “tot mom” and calling for her conviction.  Most of the “talking heads” let their disappointment be known and after the verdict was read the defense team didn’t waste any time in claiming their client had been the victim of a “media assassination” by the “biased and prejudiced incompetent talking heads”.

Twitter and Facebook cast a far-reaching net of news across the globe, bringing minute-by-minute updates directly to people’s computers and smartphones. The constant stream of information reached its peak when the not-guilty verdict was announced. Twitter reports the keywords “caseyanthony” and “notguilty” were used 34,000 and 20,000 times an hour following the live announcement (Orlando Sentinel). Google showed that “caylee anthony” was the 3rd most searched term in the world shortly after the verdict (Orlando Sentinel).

Since the verdict was reached there have been tweets and posts crying outrage and expressing opinions regarding the outcome. There are also Facebook pages dedicated to the trial. Pages such as “Cindy Anthony is a Liar” to “Porch Lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony” are places for people to express their opinions and show their support for a case that has gripped the nation.

Watching the trial unfold via live feed on multiple web pages, following the constant Twitter updates and receiving detailed analysis of the trial on TV and cable outlets people across the US have been riveted by the tragic death of a precious little girl.

The next big question is “what’s next for Casey Anthony?” – will she rake in the big bucks much to the chagrin of the US public.  It’s already being reported that she has been offered $1 million to appear on The Jerry Springer Show.  There is a catch – Casey would have to get her parents and her brother to appear with her – considering all that happened during the trial, that may be a hard accomplishment.

Group effort by Kate Shaffer, Laura Howard & Courtney Berg


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