Fake Hurricane Sandy photos flooded Twitter, Facebook and other social networks last week. Having seen these amazing and exaggerating photos, without verifying if the photos were real or not, many people made comments like “oh, it’s really the global warming” and “finally, it comes the crack of doom.” Suddenly social media was filled with negative emotions and people were getting panic. After I saw some of these horrible photos, I immediately texted my friends in NY to see if they were ok. And to my surprise, they were totally calm and said things were not as that serious as I saw on news. Soon, there were people jumping out to question the realness of the photos. And following the clarifying photo hoaxes blogs and discussions in the SNSs.
Images seem to be a lot more powerful and persuasive than words, since people tend to believe photos more because they think photos are presenting the truth. However, what people see is mediated. as DeLuca and Peeples say, "there is no real public, but, rather...the public is the product of publicity, of pictures." On the "public screen" of the Internet, people's habits of getting knowledge and information reflect choices of "images over words, emotions over rationality, speed over reflection, distraction over deliberation, slogans over arguments, the glance over the gaze, appearance over truth, the present over the past." And it's not limited to natural disasters. How about wars and protests? How about things happening in foreign countries, that our perception of the remote world may simply depends on a mediated photo.