The Urge to Engage Through the Web

Self-Organizing Communities

At 7:15 A.M. on April 16, 2007, a mentally unbalanced student at Virginia Tech shot two students. Within three hours he had killed a total of thirty-two people and wounded many others, finally killing himself. At 10:16 that morning, the university sent out an e-mail advisory, telling all students to stay inside because of a crisis on campus. At 10:23 A.M., a Tech student received a post on her Facebook page, asking if she was OK. By 11:34 A.M. that morning, an entire Facebook group, called “I’m ok at VT,” had been created. The site invited students to report about their safety (see Figure 13.1).
Between the Facebook group, a few other self-organized sites, and postings on Wikipedia ...

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