Findings: social media matters

The big picture matters. Yesterday a heart-wrenching photo on Twitter spread wildly. It appeared to show a little boy separated from his family as they fled Syria’s violence: “UN staff found 4 year-old Marwan crossing desert alone after being separated from family…”



After we’d wrung our hands raw about the poor kid, hours later, the full story emerged: the Tweet showed only a tiny portion of a busy crowd scene — and while the boy was not actually close enough to hold hands with his family members, they were there.


Bearing witness to the carnage in Syria is the least we can do. But being duped by exaggeration stings a little. And it’s just the kind of little sting that inoculates us from compassion and causes us to look away next time.

— Deborah Jones

Further reading:
For analysis that places Syria in the bigger global picture and explains the political players and what is at stake, read Jonathan Manthorpe’s columns (subscription required):, Arab Spring still waiting to blossom; Iran and United States join against common foes; and Syria’s Gordian knot will not easily be cut.