Although it happened kilometres away, the Connecticut massacre that left 26 people dead including 20 kids is hitting people in Canada really hard.
Twitter and Facebook is rife with comments about people that have been deeply affected by yesterday’s shooting spree.
SFU Professor Peter Chow-White says the use of tools like social media can make tragedies like this feel a lot closer to home.
Unlike a decade ago, he says people now can get information and react to it a lot more quickly.

“With social media, not only do we get to see them, and see intimate details about them, but we can interact with them, and reach out to other people, and hear how other people are dealing with them,” says Chow-White.
He says the twitterverse gives people an outlet to vent and voice their concerns, but it doesn’t always have to be negative.
“Too much of a bad thing can makes one feel that there’s a mean world out there, so it can do a number of things in a day…and  that’s it with social media, you can find  that mean world, but you can find others to connect to make a better world, so there’s risks and there’s benefits,” he adds.

He says in this particular tragedy, people rushed to social media to try to make sense of what happened and find solutions to prevent future massacres.

“It gives people an opportunity to voice, whereas civic politics used to be limited in terms of where people can have their voice.  We used to think of the town hall meeting but now that town hall can include an entire nation… I saw a lot of people on Facebook, there were a lot of people outraged and calling for controls for gun control laws and there are other people who are staunchly opposing it.  But we get to hear all these voices.  Sometimes when you hear them all at once, that can be a bit of an inundation.  But hearing a lot of voices tends to be a healthy democracy,” explains Chow-White.