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Social Media World Responds to a Florida Jury Acquitting Casey Anthony of Murder

Many social commentators and observers have wondered how the social media world would have reacted to the O.J. Simpson verdict some 15 years ago.  In 1995 we were still bound to traditional media.  Most of us watched in disbelief that October day when the jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, yet other than talking with our friends we had no other outlets to express our thoughts and feelings.

Many social commentators wondered how the social media world would have responded to the O.J. Simpson trial and verdict. They got their answer with Casey Anthony. Rick Stewart /Allsport

History has a funny way of repeating itself.  On a steamy July day a Florida jury found Casey Anthony not guilty in the death of her daughter Caylee.  As one might expect, the social media world is buzzing about the verdict.  Nine out of every ten posts on any given Facebook news feed are related to the Casey Anthony trial.  Twitter is no different.  Everything seems to be trending towards Casey Anthony.

I imagine this is how life would have unfolded if social media existed in 1995.  Many posts display outrage, some display irreverent humor, while a few contrarians are ready to move on.  O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony are different and alike in so many ways.

Obviously the biggest similarity is that both O.J. and Casey Anthony were involved in the highest profile murder cases of their day.  The difference is that O.J. was a huge celebrity before that fateful June evening in 1994.  Casey Anthony’s celebrity or infamy is a media creation.  The Anthony case was seemingly featured on the Nancy Grace show everyday for a year.  Even though nobody knew Casey Anthony before June 2008, we are now emotionally invested.

Another strange similarity in both cases is the role DNA played.  The prosecutors in the Anthony case had a ton of circumstantial evidence but never had that smoking gun known as DNA linking Casey to the murder.  The O.J. prosecutors had tons of DNA and forensic evidence, but the general public was still leery of its validity.

Popular television shows like CSI, Bones, Cold Case, Forensic Files, etc. did not exist in 1995.  There is a real phenomenon known as the ‘CSI effect’ where jurors now demand more forensic evidence from prosecutors because of how modern crime dramas have portrayed the importance of forensics.

The saddest part of high profile murder cases it that the victims often get forgotten.  It happened to Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, and it will likely happen to Caylee Anthony.  There is so much outrage when perceived killers walk that we sometimes forget why they were there in the first place.

O.J. never returned to his level of celebrity after his acquittal, but he still lived a relatively good life until his later conviction for theft in 2008.  Casey Anthony will likely cash in on her new infamy.  There will be books, interviews, club appearances, and maybe even Playboy offers.  In a sick and twisted way perhaps Casey Anthony will get what she wanted all along, la bella vita or the good life.

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