The University of Texas at Austin, website was constantly updated throughout the day as a gunman went into the school library with an assault rifle before turning the gun on himself. And many students turned to Facebook and Twitter for developing information.
"It certainly happened to an extent during Virginia Tech, but what we're seeing now more and more is that more students have access to social media with them because they have iPhones and they have Android phones," said Andrew Chavez a new media specialist with TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism. "They have these Web-enabled phones that let them access social media anywhere."
Chavez said social media now plays an important role in keeping students safe in emergency situations. "Social media allows people to have access to all of this information in one place," he said. "Not only do they have the official access information coming out from the university, they also have all the information from their friends, their family. It just makes sense that they're plugged into that during the day and that it's going to be a good avenue to get official information."
"This is a sign of what an emergency response is going to look like 30 years from now when these people grow up and they're using social media when they're 45 or 50 years old," Chavez said. "It’s even heightened when it's in Austin, which, I would say, is the social media capital of Texas."