NOT GUILTY Of Murder! Verdicts Reached For Casey Anthony, The Internet Erupts In The First Social Media Trial Of This Generation.

The internet has erupted over the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. Watch the video here. With the help of Social Media, The Casey Anthony Murder Trial has replaced the O.J.Simpson trial as the most watched, discussed, argued, covered, shared and debated trail of its time.

During more than ten hours of deliberation, the internet was abuzz over a potential verdict, and now it’s here…

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the video.

Not Guilty First Degree Murder

Not Guilty Aggravated Child Abuse

Not Guilty Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child

The only charges that came back with guilty charges were those about Providing False Information to Law Enforcement.

The internet blew up with the news… as evidenced on Twitter.

With the help of Social Media, The Casey Anthony Murder Trial has replaced the O.J.Simpson trial as the most watched, discussed, argued, covered, shared and debated trail of its time, more than ever before putting a defendant on trial in the court of law, and the court of public opinion.

There has never been a trial subject to such public,  real-time opinion and scrutiny. Consider that the internet in 1995 – the year of the OJ Simpson case, was more a platform for the written word and accompanying photographs. Streaming video was once virtually non-existent, and when it was available, the process of watching it was a slow and painful one. Now, not only can users watch television coverage live online, (more than 1 million people watched the verdict live on alone…this doesn’t cover other websites and all of TV) they have multiple platforms for sharing their opinions, publishing their own commentary, and spreading the word of the latest developments.

Through twitter and facebook, followers and ‘fans’ of the case could receive email updates. Readers could subscribe to daily text messages. As viewers waited for a verdict, the internet erupted with chatter and speculation… so much so that the terms VERDICT REACHED, death penalty, HLN (the network covering the case in its entirety) Nancy Grace, and Caylee were trending on the Twitter, making up for half of its ten trending topics.

It stands to reason that the video of the Anthony verdict will go viral, and the outrage/praise/analysis will continue. Partly because the story was dramatic, but also because Casey Anthony had become the web equivalent of a celebrity. During the course of the story, YouTube users virtually assigned themselves the role of news organization, providing video clips of the trial. Nearly 8,000 video posts involving Casey were available before the verdict. Facebook had more nearly 30 pages in her name.

That Anthony is a celebrity online is ironic, given that the story actually began online… before it was a story…Consider that even Cindy Anthony, Casey’s mother, turned to social media to begin her search for answers about her granddaughter’s disappearance. According to TIME Magazine:

The first public mention of the case appeared on MySpace on July 3, 2008, when Cindy Anthony, Casey’s mother, posted a distraught message saying her daughter had stolen “lots of money” and wasn’t allowing her to see her granddaughter. (A few days later, Cindy called 911 to report a “possible missing child.”)

Years later, social networking and the internet is not only a platform for discussing cases like this one, it’s a source of evidence. Anthony’s own alleged searches for chloroform being the big one in this trial.

A verdict now reached, the discussion of whether justice was found for Caylee Anthony continues. The analysis, the Monday morning quarterbacking, and the speculation about sentencing for the lesser charges will go on for a while.

For those who were devastated to hear the not guilty verdicts, it may be that the internet community’s constant analysis, discussion and chatter about the case without the restrictions that are placed on juries can cause each of us to fundamentally support the result each of us individually want to see. Perhaps also, we cloud ourselves to the burdens of proof that jurors must adhere to.

It’s hard to say whether this new era of information and opinion sharing helps or hurts the justice system, and if the viral popularity of some court cases is a reflection of true emotional investment in story of  simply a temporary form of entertainment in a fast-paced world. The internet chatter will continue, for a little while… but like so many other internet trends, it will drop off the list of popular searches and trending topics, to be replaced by something else. And the shattered lives of those who loved Caylee Anthony will be left to pick up and move on.

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