COMM0011 – Blog Post #2 First Estate of Social Media

In a modern world it is hard to overestimate the impact of social media. I think the Forth Estate of Media is getting to be a First Estate of Social Media. Less and less people read newspapers. Newspapers have cut more than 33% of their workforce. It doesn’t mean that people are not interested to learn what’s happening in their countries or the world; they just use social media platforms to receive the most recent information. I didn’t think about how powerful social media really is before the tragic event that saw Cecil the 13 year old lion killed by an American dentist, Walter Palmer. It was a favorite beloved Zimbabwean lion and his terrible death entailed an enormous resonance in society. Sad story…

Let`s imagine it happened 30 years ago. People probably would watch the news of this event on TV, read about it in newspapers, and discuss with each other. The culprit who killed this beautiful animal could just move to another city a month after the occasion and probably nobody would remember his name. What happens in our time? The news spreads instantly. It was like throwing a burning match into a dry forest – the fire spreads so quickly. Ryan Broderick’s analysis what happened with Walter Palmer’s life after the lion’s death  greatly illustrates the power of social media.

Twitter, Yellow Pages, Facebook, YouTube, Google page were all full of angry comments and negative reviews. People judge the hunter without a court decision. His business Facebook page was closed as they received too many threatening comments. Through Social Media angry people found out personal information about the dentist’s personal and business addresses and he became a victim of hatred and angry people’s judgment. More than 77,000 people signed a petition to Zimbabwe requesting them to stop issuing hunting licences for rare and endangered animals. Overnight Walter Palmer lost his reputation, he had to stop working for two months, and he quickly became most hated person in the world.

Despite the fact that Walter Palmer offered his regrets and apologies, despite the fact that his hunting was legal, despite the fact that Zimbabwe will not charge him in Cecil the lion’s death as his documents were in order three months later after lion’s death he is personally still in the middle of huge controversy within the social media platforms.


As a common known fact that people remember negative information better than positive I guess Walter Palmer won`t restore his reputation soon.  As individuals, we are always responsible for our behaviors and putting them out there for the entire world to see could cause upheaval in our lives in a very short time-frame.


8 thoughts on “COMM0011 – Blog Post #2 First Estate of Social Media

  1. It is amazing how today’s social media platforms have become the ultimate in scrap-booking all of the good, the bad and the ugly of our lives. What gives it that tinge of the terrifying is how it can all turn so dark – a match in a dry forest indeed! I don’t think going online to express one’s disapproval provides licence to be nasty or threatening. I strongly believe in the power of the pen, and that channeling our feelings into efforts that help support alternate outcomes is a more constructive way to go any day.

  2. I agree, the impact of social media is incredible and the voice of common man could change the power, the story of Dave Carroll whose guitar was broken while travelling with United Airlines was posted on social media had changed the consumer rights and big business could not get away with bad customer service.

  3. I agree with your conclusion that social media is likely to become the first estate as opposed to the fourth. We now, more than ever, take to social media to get our messages heard. Obama did it when running for president, Trudeau did it to appeal to a younger audience, and of course animal advocates did it with the Cecil incident.
    As a side note, you mentioned that the hunt was legal, when in fact it was not; Cecil was lured out of a National Park and shot just outside of it (the park is called Hwange, located in Zim). There was no indication that this hunt was legal whatsoever, especially as Palmer had bribed several people and both he and his guides knew who Cecil was and where he resided. Yes, bating is legal but they took him out of a protected national park.

  4. Thank you for your reply. My point and as per the initial story, he was in fact legally hunting in this area as all of his documents were apparently in order to hunt in this area. The fact that they lured the lion out of a national park to kill or maybe even “murder” him in this case, I agree that these actions were absolutely not moral in anyway shape or form!

  5. Great post. Your observations are so true. I often find myself shaking my head when reading comments, blogs and articles nowadays. All too often because of the speed and accessibility of social media, individuals are accused, tried and convicted before they have even been formally accused by our legal system. There often seems to be a mob mentality that sees groups picking up rocks and stoning the accused publicly for the sheer enjoyment or before all the accurate details have come to light. I worry sometimes.

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