Alleged hostage situation becomes social media sensation

According to The Columbia Missourian, social media played a major role in the coverage of what was believed to be a hostage crisis in Jefferson City, Missouri. Reports circulated on Tuesday that a hostage had been taken at the state’s Public Service Commission. Police shut down a four-block radius around downtown Jefferson City for four hours, even though it turned out that there was in fact no hostage situation.

Within that four hour span, there were around 310 updates sent on Twitter with the tag #JCMOhostage. In addition, several major news outlets updated the situation on their Twitter and Facebook pages. Even Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kindler tweeted about the incident, which he said he could see from his office window.

He said he decided to tweet about it because he thought it was “important to notify the world.”

“This was obviously a public event,” Kinder said. “And being Twitter, it seemed appropriate.”

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