How people on Twitter reacted to Trayvon Martin and Ferguson in one chart

The Pew Research Center has a fascinating write-up about how the media have picked up on the Michael Brown shooting and the situation in Ferguson. One of the most interesting graphics in its report compares how people on Twitter responded to Ferguson versus how they reacted to the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012.


(Pew Research)

As you can see from Pew's graphic, there are some stark differences in how the Ferguson and Trayvon Martin stories unfolded on the platform. For starters, the reaction to the Trayvon Martin case was more of a slow burn: It didn't truly gain steam on Twitter until weeks after the initial shooting -- and according to Pew, Twitter users' attention peaked much at a much lower level.

But a significant part of that may be attributable to how the story around the shooting of Michael Brown has grown to be a larger narrative about not just his death, but the community reaction and the police treatment of protesters and the journalists covering the story. The ongoing clashes on the ground has turned Twitter into a resource relied upon by protesters as they navigate the chaos as well as journalists.

Plus, there are just more people on Twitter now than in 2012 when Martin was shot. According to Pew, 15 percent of U.S. adults used Twitter in 2012 versus 19 percent this year.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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