Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony

Accused baby killer Casey Anthony was found not guilty. According to a jury of her peers, Casey was not responsible for Caylee Anthony’s death. This fact was Tweeted and Retweeted, Facebooked and Refacebooked, blogged and commented on by literally millions of people yesterday. The sheer volume of broadband traffic dedicated to #caseyanthonyverdict was astonishing.

Which begs for the questions:
1) Should we redefine “jury of our peers?”
2) Can we use social media to replace, augment or somehow modernize and improve the current system?

The Tweets were so overwhelmingly against Casey Anthony that reading them made me uncomfortable. Broadcast media fed the flames – pundits from every related discipline were desperately trying to explain how our legal system works, how the “burden of proof” lied squarely on the State, and how the brilliant defense team worked and ultimately beat the system.

Most reasonable pundits (not the screaming ones Nancy Grace put on her show) felt that the jury did its job, and that the idea of trial by jury of your peers is still the best.

Tens of millions of social networkers disagreed:

@thepaolosaurus “OJ’s jurors are glad their 16yr record of being the 12 dumbest people in America is over.”

@Ruth_A_Buzzi “In Texas, the jury would’ve had to be restrained from hanging her themselves.”

@PeterTheMonster “The USA: Where you go to jail for stealing a necklace, but not for killing your daughter.”

@PiersTonight “There is still a lot of explaining to do, and to say they found her innocent, I beg to differ.”

However, a few wondered about the Tweet Mob and offered the kind of Tweet humor that quickly kills any idea that there is a “wisdom of crowds” solution that might be better than our current “trial by a select jury of our peers” system:

@goldhammy_ “When did everyone with a Twitter account become an expert in criminal law?”

@JohnDeVore “Not guilty? This is the worst episode of Law & Order ever.”

@KeaneKong “#caseyanthonyverdict confuses me. she’s guilty of lying to the cops but she’s not guilty… bet she’s got like no friends left on facebook.”

@prattprattpratt “In light of such of a tragedy, not that it matters, but what place did she get in the hot body contest?”

This is not a statistically significant or scientific sample of Tweets. Although most of the best practices Social Listening services will report that the Tweet Mob overwhelmingly believes that Casey Anthony is guilty as charged.

Is there a place for Social Networking Tools in the Justice System? Should the idea be studied?

Or, is does this Tweet say it all:

@Beamer05 “I mean, people act outraged about the #caseyanthonyverdict…but, a few hours later, don’t care. And are watching 16 & Pregnant…idiots!”

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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