Grief, confusion spilled onto Internet quickly

first_imgCHICAGO – Horrible, real-world happenings are unfolding almost simultaneously in the virtual world, as Virginia Tech students and people from all over the world gather online to grieve and vent. Almost immediately after Monday’s deadly shootings, Virginia Tech students created an “I’m OK” page on Facebook to let one another and their loved ones know that they survived. Other students posted photos and cell-phone video on their own sites, or shared it just hours after the shootings with news organizations. Since Monday, there has been a nonstop flood of postings on the popular Facebook student site, on MySpace and LiveJournal, and on personal blogs – expressing everything from grief to confusion. Jesse Connolly, a 21-year-old from Lynn, Mass., made a posting Tuesday on the Myspace page of Ross Alameddine, one of the VT students who died. The pair worked together last summer at an electronics store in their home state. “If only you were here to read this Ross … You’d know what an imaginative, intelligent, compassionate and most of all hysterically funny human being you were, and how appreciative I am to have spent last summer working with such a great kid,” Connolly wrote. “My every thought is with you and your family.” Even before names of the victims were officially released, a few students created Facebook memorial pages for some of the dead – though others worried that it was too soon, since family and friends were still being notified. In addition to using the university’s Web site to communicate with the world, Virginia Tech officials planned to set up a site where families of the victims could post photos. TechSideline.com, a site for VT sports fans, also quickly morphed into a meeting place where students, family and friends could communicate. And as a show of support, many students, including scores from other colleges, replaced their Facebook profile photos with a VT logo shrouded in a black ribbon. The rapid search and response of the Web also sent people the world over searching for the meaning of “Ismail Ax.” Those two words, written in red ink on one arm of Cho Seung Hui, the 23-year-old Virginia Tech student involved in the campus shooting spree, set off a massive Internet hunt by the public Tuesday for clues to what might have motivated the nation’s worst mass killings.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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