Protests that began in Ferguson, Missouri are sweeping the United States tonight, after a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown on August 9th. People in cities spanning both coasts are marching in protest of Brown's death, shutting down highways, and being confronted by police. And many are providing live accounts of the events in their area. Everyone can watch now.
There are lots of ways to witness what's happening around the country now beyond cable news. Here's what you should be paying attention to.
Fox 2 in St. Louis has been providing a reliable stream from its news helicopter since last night. You can watch it here.
Ferguson activist Bassem Masri has stood with protesters, dodged tear gas and smoke, and provided a raw personal look at events on the ground in his community. Last night more than 80,000 viewers watched Masri's stream, until his phone was stolen. He's searching for a replacement, but keep your eyes peeled on his Ustream channel.
Twitter has proven itself as one of the most powerful platforms for observing events of major importance as they happen live. If you're a pro, you probably already know where to look. But if you're not a user already, don't worry: you can sign up anonymously, make a private profile, and simply observe what's happening in the world. Here's a list of 40 people on the ground in Ferguson to get you started.
If you've got a web browser you need to use Tweetdeck. It's more powerful than using Twitter's traditional website which restricts you to a single column of information, and new tweets stream continuously. It's free.
Surfing the stream
Use search terms in Tweetdeck columns to keep track of of certain topics and conversations. Tonight, you need to watch the hashtag #shutitdown. Some hashtags and keywords, like #Ferguson, may be unreadable in Tweetdeck — in that case you're better off looking for the top tweets on Twitter's regular website.
Instagram can also provide a broad and immediate look at events. Images are being posted under the same hashtags: #shutitdown and #Ferguson. You can search for images from everyone within the Instagram app, or a web viewer like Gramfeed.
Watch now. Here's what you're going to see.