In a bizarre twist to the Trayvon Martin shooting case, George Zimmerman — currently facing second degree murder charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon — has his lawyers launching a social media campaign on his behalf, including a website, a Facebook account, and a Twitter account.
According to MSNBC:
“We understand that it is unusual for a legal defense to maintain a social media presence on behalf of a defendant, but we also acknowledge that this is a very unusual case,” says Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara on the new site, George Zimmerman Legal Case.”
It’s easy to understand the motivation; after all, immediately following the shooting it appeared that George Zimmerman was going to escape being charged in this case. But as outrage swelled on social media channels, the case was investigated further and Mr. Zimmerman WAS charged after all.
So, it makes sense that his defense team wants to fight fire with fire.
One of the problems they are trying to solve is the huge number of fake social profiles set up in Mr. Zimmerman’s name.
“We are aggressively working to identify, discredit, and eliminate fraudulent websites and social profiles that pretend to represent George Zimmerman or his legal defense team. A critical part of this effort is establishing the credibility of official digital properties that the media and the public can trust as the official voice for what is legitimate and what is not. We are also working hard to identify negative, hate- or prejudice- based web presence and will report those to the proper authorities.”
I applaud their efforts, but… here’s the thing.
It’s nearly impossible to “create” a viral campaign. Everyone wants George Zimmerman to get a fair trail, but trying to create a social media firestorm defending him isn’t likely to really help with that, frankly.
What do you think? Will it make a difference?