"Mother unwittingly live-tweets husband’s fatal crash.” With characteristic tabloid economy, the headline in the New York Post captured the tragedy and irony of a story at the confluence of a heartbreaking highway collision and the immediacy of social media.
Last year, a record 72 percent of adults who are online used social networking sites, according to the Pew Research Center. But of all the sites, from Facebook and LinkedIn to Instagram and Pinterest, it is Twitter that has done more to change how we get news and information in real time. The use of Twitter has doubled since 2010, according to Pew. In that time, the microblogging service has grown from a simple tool for posting updates—personal and professional—to a critical device for informing the public about major events. Sometimes, though, live-tweeting a news update touches someone very personally.