Today in Social Monitoring

The Old Guard, the Army unit responsible for guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, provided a small example of the importance of social media monitoring today. As Sandy began her approach on the East Coast, the photo below started hitting the Twitterverse (I was one of many who tweeted it).

About three minutes after Samir Mezrahi (@samir) from BuzzFeed posted it on Twitter, The Old Guard (@The_Old_Guard) responded, saying the photo was actually from September and provided a couple of photos of the Soldier actually guarding the Tomb during the storm.

The unit has corrected a number of sources on this, including the Washington Post.

No, it wasn’t detrimental to The Old Guard’s image to have the incorrect photo circulating, but kudos to the unit’s public affairs team for using social monitoring to find the mistake and correct it. And — this probably goes without saying — props to the Soldiers who’ve guarded that Tomb every minute of every day since April 1948.


Today’s Virginia Tech shootings proved what we already knew

First, like everyone else, my heart goes out to everyone at Virginia Tech, especially the victims of the tragedy and their families.

I was kind of late picking up on the story, so most local websites covering the event had already crashed. I started following the Collegiate Times, Tech’s student newspaper, at around 2:30 pm EST, when people were tweeting that it was a good way to receive breaking news. Then, it had about 12,000 followers.

At 4:44 EST, it had 20,993 followers.

It’s a tragic way to gain that many followers, but congratulations to that group of students for excellent and responsible reporting throughout the situation. I believe it played a valuable role not only in informing the public about the event, but also informing students about what to do and where to go in order to stay safe.

This jump in followers again proves how important social media is to how we receive information nowadays. That reporting kept me glued to my phone during the office Christmas party.

I will be interested to see how many folks stay following the account now that the situation seems to be resolved.

Again, my hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.