When Bad Things Happen – Cellular and Internet Provide News, Experience Overloads

Today a gunman at Virginia Tech went on a rampage, killing and wounding scores of people at two locations on campus. Details are still emerging, but there are some examples of how the use of Internet and telecommunications technologies has impacted both the school and the country.

There were four technology issues that have arisen over the course of this event: 1) problems with notification of the crisis via email to students affected, 2) overloading of the local cellular network, rendering student cellphones essentially useless, 3) the overloading of the university servers during the crisis, preventing students from learning in real-time what what going on from their school, and 4) individuals cohering conflicting information on news sites via Wikipedia and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

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