On the morning of Oct. 22, Canadians tuning into the news heard about a shooting in Ottawa.

News of the attack spread on social media as reports, rumours and speculation circulated. SMARTTLab cofounder Prof. Alfred Hermida used Crimson Hexagon to analyse the spread of information during and following the shooting.

His findings on the over 130,000 tweets using the hashtag #OttawaShooting and half-million tweets using the word “Ottawa” were published in an article for The Tyee.

Hermida wrote:

The rhythms of real time show how Twitter serves as a fleeting town square for people to share their reaction, fear, sorrow and hopes.

Looking back at the Ottawa shootings, there is a pattern to the flow of information. After the initial shock and reaction, came messages of condolence using the hashtag #PrayforOttawa. There were more than 45,000 tweets with #PrayforOttawa as Canadians came together through social media.

Then came messages of solidarity expressed through the hashtag #OttawaStrong. By Thursday, there had been almost 90,000 #OttawaStrong tweets from Canada and across the world.

He concludes by arguing that “stories unfold before our eyes as information is contested, confirmed or contradicted in a symbiotic relationship between traditional and social media.”

Read the full article at The Tyee.