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How tech has changed the world: Florida school shooting
13/04/2018

Lets go back to February 14th 2018, when the tragic reports of a gunman in Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Florida hit the headlines. What is sadly now one of many attacks, this one stood out in particular because of it’s publicity - and not by the press.

Faster than the news could reach mainstream media, even before the police could get to the scene, this event was public. Teenagers at the school were Snapchatting, Tweeting and texting whilst in lockdown at the school.  
This tragedy was a prime example of how technology is making the world a better place from it’s use during the event, to the changes it will make to US gun laws, and it’s all down to teenagers with access to a voice: social media.

The younger generation is often faced with criticism for being on their phones too often and being too reliant on technology, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. These two brothers found themselves in the same unimaginable situation - except they were kept a floor apart from each other. The boys were unsure if they would ever see each other again, but, thanks to mobile phones the pair were allowed some comfort in knowing that for at least at that moment, they were both ok. One of the brothers, Sam Zeif, shared the emotional exchange on Twitter:

As if the tweet alone wasn't moving enough, here is the full text exchange between the Zeif brothers:

This is a remarkable case of technology bringing people together. These two young brothers, among many others I’m sure, got the chance to communicate with each other at a moment where they didn’t know if they would ever be able to again, and there can’t be any greater use for technology than that. 

Whilst use of technology during the massacre helped the individuals involved, what’s even more remarkable is how those same individuals have used social media in attempt to prevent this from happening again. 

The students of MSD took to Twitter on a mission to tell their story and illustrate exactly why gun control must change. Twitter gave them the chance to directly challenge the government and gain the publics support. The generation of social media took over the platform and used it to challenge older generations by telling them what needs to be done. 


What’s more, as a result of this noise, the students set up the campaign #NeverAgain which took off on social media massively, provoking the students to set up the organised ‘March for our lives’ demonstration on March 24th promoting tighter gun control in the US. The protest in Washington D.C. along with another 800 sibling events had an estimated turn out of 1.2 - 2 million people in the US, gaining support from a number of A-listers including Amal and George Clooney, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Steven Spielberg, Paul McCartney and many more.

The event gathered 390k Twitter followers, as well as 198k followers on the #NeverAgain account. This incredible event was organised and promoted by the students of MSD, and it was - and will become - one of the most pivotal moments in US history, which all started with teenagers on a smartphone. 

Whilst there have been no direct changes made after the demonstration as of yet, the event made a lot of noise that politicians will need to respond to. Former President Barack Obama told the teenagers to “keep at it. You’re leading us forward. Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.”

These students raised awareness of the tragedy and the reason there needs to be changes in gun legislation. I have no doubt the actions of these students will go on to make a real difference in the world - all because they had a story to tell, and social media gave them a voice. 

Got another example of tech being used for good?

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