Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The shocking outbreak of violence in Louisville's West End has almost everyone scrambling for answers. Now there's a new group that believes social media sites like Facebook can be part of the solution.
The concept is simple: words on the web can translate into violence on the streets, unless someone works to stop it.
Before the shots rang out in the Parkland neighborhood last week, there were clues that something bad was about to happen. And the clues were on Facebook.
"I was looking on a couple of the character's sites that were involved in the shooting and, basically, you could tell that they were dealing with some type of emotional distress," said Russell Goodwin, who spends hours everyday scouring social networking sites, and often sees language that raises red flags.
"For instance," he says, "if I see someone on there and they're talking about, 'Come see me, you know where I live. You can't mess with me or I have haters.'"
Goodwin, who owns a tech business, is now partnering with a group called "Connected Voices" to use sites like Facebook to look for signs of potential trouble and try to intervene: "We want to step in and be able to issue a helping hand and sort of defuse the situation before it becomes anything like what we saw last Thursday."
But the big question is this: how can something someone may see on a social networking site translate into real action that makes a difference on the streets of Louisville?
Connected Voices says parts of its mission is to encourage people to be actively involved in the lives of others beyond the Facebook page and break the code of silence.
"Through social networking and through the word on the so-called street, hopefully we can reach those individuals who know about that dispute and try to drop a seed in their mind that you have the power to intervene into that," said community activist Christopher 2X.
"It's important that a lot of the youth and young adults do utilize these social networking sites not always for negative, but it can be used for positive change, too," said Goodwin.
Connected Voices is not saying it could have prevented last week's violence. but by building a more connected culture, organizers believe that can be part of a long-term solution.