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Undergraduate Education Librarian
Research, Education and Outreach Unit
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Buffalo, NY 14260-2200
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Published October 4, 2019
Dr. Michael Stefanone was recently quoted in a Buffalo News aticle regarding the fatal stabbing that took place last week at the Mckinley Mall in Hamburg. The article surrounded a photo that was taken of the victim at the scene and quickly spread throughout social media networks.
Dr. Michael Stefanone, Associate Professor of Communication, was recently quoted in a Buffalo News article regarding last week's tragic stabbing at the McKinley Mall in Hamburg. The article addresses a photo of the victim, Mallicia Tipps, that was taken after she was stabbed and soon went viral. The image was taken at the scene and consistently reshared on social media until parents of Hamburg Middle Schoolers reported seeing it on their phones by the weekend. The article explores just why and how a photo surrounding such a sad event would spread so quickly on social media platforms.
Since Dr. Stefanone’s research concerns computer-mediated communication, social media, and social networks, he was able to provide some insight into why such a photo was able to spread. "Social media is a platform that people use to compete for attention, and what better way than to shock your audience?" said Dr. Stefanone; "What a terrible thing to do to a family." The photo of the dying woman, Ms. Tipps, would not meet publication standards for any mainstream news organizations and does not appear to have been posted publicly. Nonetheless, the picture has still circulated and been seen by countless children and adults through social media networks. The image, viewed by The Buffalo News, reportedly shows two women kneeling over a blood-soaked Tipps in an attempt to help her, one appearing to press cloth into a stab wound to try and slow the bleeding. The fact that younger children, as well as adults, have seen and shared the image is disturbing but not surprising, and just goes to show the power of social media on people of all ages.
Read the full article here.