Latest excuse for sightings of dead birds and fish? Over reporting in social media!


earth1.jpgUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably read about the mysterious sightings of dead birds dropping out of the sky, and millions of dead fish and sea mammals washing ashore, all over the world.

The news started with a report on New Year’s Eve of redwing blackbirds falling out of the sky in Arkansas — and soon steamrolled into reports of sudden animal deaths of shellfish, sea mammals and birds, sometimes by the tons, dying suddenly en masse all over the globe.

Dozens of official theories and explanations have been offered for this “aflockalypse” — from fireworks and unusually cold weather to bible scholars saying it’s the day of reckoning and New Agers blaming it on aliens or 2012.

But today’s latest theory about this sudden flock of animal deaths is that it’s because of social media!

Twitter, Facebook, mobile devices, blogs and instant, citizen media enable stories that would have once been local, or not even reported, are now global news.

As more and more of us report our news instantly on Twitter and it shows up immediately in Google search engines, this kind of mass reporting of simple, ordinary things, all over the world, can suddenly looks like a huge outbreak.

But are these  stories that back in the era of local news reporting, may have only made the local TV news or a the back pages of small town paper?

Or is this the first example of citizen journalists revealing a truth that would have otherwise never been revealed before the social media era?

A fascinating example of community-generated collaborative media is here, in a Google map of the sudden animal death sightings.

It will be fascinating to see if the massive bird deaths are simply a series of linked coincidences, brought to light by social media — or if indeed there truly is something fishy about this “aflockalypse.”

Here’s a story in the citizen-generated Examiner that offers social media as the possible excuse:

http://www.examiner.com/headlines-in-san-francisco/dead-birds-fish-kills-update-more-evidence-that-the-die-offs-are-not-unusual

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