Casey Anthony awaits her verdict (Credit: Screenshot taken live stream of Casey Anthony verdict)
The verdict is in, and Casey Anthony was found not guilty of killing two-year-old Caylee Anthony by a jury of her peers at approximately 2:15 P.M. EST.
The most-talked-about trial hit the tabloids, the newspapers, the broadcast news stations and the Internet. The infamy of Anthony's trial -- the winding saga of lies and deceit -- has led to no real answers.
No one knows who Caylee's father is, whether or not Casey was molested by her father, how Caylee died and why it took so long for Casey to come forward about her daughter's death -- and there is a strong possibility we will never know. In a trial with as much media attention as theAnthony trial and in the age of social media, the Casey Anthony case has consumed conversation on on Twitter and Facebook throughout its duration. As the jury reached their verdict today, she became the dominant topic of conversation as the prelude to her sentence trended worldwide.
Social media has played a huge part in how big the trial became in terms of public attention. Nancy Grace has received career-high ratings off of her coverage of the trial, quickly becoming the second highest rated hour in all of cable news (following "The O'Reilly Factor") in early June.A recent "48 Hours" segment asked if Anthony could even get a fair trial due to her wide accepted renown. The show questioned whether any jury could hear evidence without the inclusion of the negative media bias.
Much negative light as been shown on Casey Anthony in social media ever since her mother Cindy Anthony first publicly mentioned problems on July 3, 2008 on MySpace alleging thatCasey had stolen "lots of money" and that she wasn't allowed to see her granddaughter. Overthree years since the trial has started, social media users are still issuing tweetsabout the crazy antics of Casey Anthony, her tears, her seemingly involuntary tendency to spew lies and the circus that is her family.
It seems that with the not guilty verdict, social media's reach isn't so extensive that it can malign a jury against a defendant. The burden of providing evidence is still on the prosecution.
But, despite the "victory" of the U.S. judicial system against outside social media forces that take away from a defendant's right to an unbiased trial by jury, it doesn't change public sentiment as evidenced online. As Time Magazine put it, the Casey Anthony case has become "the SocialMedia Trial of the Century." If Casey Anthony had been put on trial in the social media courts, our tweets and Facebook posts show a much different verdict. And, even though the jury decision is in, she'll still be tried throughout our retweets and online conversations for weeks to come.