Twitter – the online jury?
The Oscar Pistorius trial is taking centre stage across the world, but it’s interesting how the use of cameras in the courtroom means that anyone across the globe can feel like part of a jury via social media.
Twitter is being used more than any other form of social media throughout this trial, probably because it’s so fast to get news out, and the 140 character limitation is great for getting to the point and capturing a glimpse of what’s happening in court.
There’s even a Twitter channel dedicated to the trial, which updates more than 40 times an hour during proceedings. So even if you can’t watch the trial, you have someone writing the important quotes down for you – perfect for news hounds and the intrigued alike.
While journalists around the world tweet live news to update everyone from inside the courtroom (let’s hope they have wifi!) millions are tweeting their own views, and some even go as far to create parody accounts (see below) for the lawyers involved.
I think all this online activity ultimately links back to how interactive the trial has become, thanks to the cameras that capture every emotive statement from Pistorius and every scathing cross-examination from the prosecution.
While filming court proceedings in South Africa is commonplace, this has yet to happen in UK courts and the debate about whether it should continues to rumble on.
In the Pistorius trial, there’s been a lot of confusion about what can and can’t be broadcasted, with the judge even telling the journalists they ‘must not tweet’ through some sensitive testimonies and information (obviously understandable).
Have you been gripped by the Pistorius trial? Do you think the cameras are making it the judicial process better or worse?