Courtroom in the Twitter age: Who to follow during the Oscar Pistorius trial
Oscar Pistorius, center, is escorted out of the high court after the first day of his trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 3, 2014. (AP)
Daniel Bitonti, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, March 3, 2014 12:34PM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 3, 2014 3:24PM EST
The Oscar Pistorius trial, which got underway Monday morning in Pretoria, South Africa, is strikingly similar to the O.J. Simpson trial that captured the world’s attention nearly two decades ago.
Like Simpson, Pistorius first gained fame as a high-profile athlete; in 2012, Pistorius competed at the London Olympics as the first double-leg amputee to compete at the Games. And like Simpson, Pistorius is accused of murdering the person most would consider closest to him: Reeva Steenkamp, his model girlfriend.
While Pistorius admits he killed Steenkamp, he maintains it was a tragic accident as he thought she was an intruder that had broken into his home.
But unlike the 1995 Simpson trial, the Pistorius trial is taking place in the Twitter age.
Not only will the trial be live-tweeted by a string of journalists and court observers, Twitter has also become an essential part of the court of public opinion. Many commentators have already documented the use of social media by Pistorius supports in an effort to try to recast the facts of the case ahead of the trial.
With the trial expected to last upward of six weeks, here are some essential Twitter handles you need to follow to be in the know.
The play-by-play account
The Twitter handle @OscarTrial199 provides detailed information about what’s going on in the Pretoria courtroom. And judging by Monday’s tweets, Twitter users will certainly be able to turn here to get a play-by-play of the trial.
The PR team
Also likely to tweet throughout the trial will be Pistorius’ PR team @OscarHardTruth. While the team has only tweeted 10 times, the Twitter handle links to the official OscarPistorius.com website, and says it “will be used to share factual info during the trial.”
Another handle to watch out for on Twitter is @EmG_R_EmM. While the person behind the account is unknown, this handle frequently attacks anyone who says anything negative about Pistorius. The account, however, often displays certain details about the case that suggests the user might have inside knowledge
During the trial you might see #Pistorians attached to some tweets -- a hashtag used by social-media users strongly in support of Pistorius. The hashtag was also used in the days following the Feb. 14, 2013 shooting. Pistorius’ family, however, has blasted the hashtag, saying that it disregards the “profound pain” that family and friends of Steenkamp are going through.
The man himself
Twitter users can go straight to the source by following Pistorius at @OscarPistorius. It’s hard to know how active Pistorius will be on Twitter during the trial, with his last tweet coming on Feb. 24, or even if he’s actually running the account himself. But his lawyers are expected to use his past Twitter activity as a defence during the trial. Apparently Pistorius had tweeted in 2012, months before Steenkamp’s shooting, that he went "full attack recon mode in the pantry" when he thought an intruder was in his home, suggesting he has a history of being anxious about intruders.
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