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Will Twitter cause chaos with news of ET contact?

In early 2012, the BBC reported that news of extraterrestrial contact “may reach most people via a tweet from a SETI astronomer.” Because of Twitter’s ability to provide instant news to users around the world, this is a reasonable assumption. Whether the news comes from an astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, or from a member of the general public, Twitter is a likely vehicle for transmitting this news the fastest.

Although Twitter may very well be the source by which many initially learn of extraterrestrial contact, it could also incite hysteria.

A recent Forbes article suggests that Twitter will cause our generation’s “War of The Worlds.” The Orson Welles’ 1938 radio drama panicked listeners who thought the fictitious alien invasion was real. And, due to “the faith people have in the reliability of social media,” Forbes theorizes that Twitter users may react in a similar manner to news of extraterrestrial visitation, real or fictitious. The article explains, “With the power of mass communication in the hands of everyone, a ‘War of the Worlds’ scare can’t be far away, and would be easier to pull off today than it was for Orson Welles.”

So, in the event of true extraterrestrial contact, the news will disseminate rapidly via Twitter. But false news can spread equally as fast, which can make it difficult to distinguish genuine news from false news. But that is the nature of user-generated Internet content, and, sadly, news in general. It’s always a good idea to look for multiple sources to corroborate information.

Do you think the news of extraterrestrial contact would freak people out like “War of the Worlds” did more than seventy years ago? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

5 comments

  1. avatar

    Honestly, news spreads faster via twitter because it only takes a moment to write 140-characters. People freaked out when twitter spread the death of Michael Jackson as well…not necessarily a War of the Worlds scenario, but you can bet that there will be some hysteria. Most likely from fake tweets mixed in with real information…I imagine there will be some “Aliens just blew up the White House” tweets from people attempting to make light of a larger situation. I do think that people will handle things better in this day and age than compared to the 1938 hysteria though.

  2. avatar

    It’s Incredibly hard to determine how humanity will react. to such a proclamation as first contact. it’s my personal belief people who think critically would be able to retain a more calmer demeanor if the source was credible like NASA. the people who think NASA is hiding aliens from us, would be more likely to grab their Bugout bag and head for the hills I feel.

    Of course this is pure speculation on my part. being a christian though, I would welcome it.

  3. avatar

    I think there would have to be at least some main stream media confirmation of such an event before tweets would go viral. However, if confirmed, I think the industrialised world would go into societal meltdown (I hope I’m wrong though).
    You would only need a small percentage of people, particularly involved in essential services, to not turn up to work for a week or so which would trigger others to do the same. Pretty soon the lights would go out and people would start hoarding food and fuel. The local authorities would be swamped by reports of ‘aliens in the attic’ every night of the week and anxiety related medical conditions would skyrocket.
    However, in spite of all this, I’m a strong advocate for the truth (whatever that is) to be made public. I just hope it’s done super carefully.

  4. avatar

    Why not assume they will have the capacity to contact us vie Tweet? It is an easy, low impact means of spreading the word of arrival. Why do we always assuem that visitors will show up and look immediately for a government to contact when there are so many goverernments, and most of them at odds with each other. Take it to the people.

  5. avatar

    Not to rain on your parade, but actually it won’t be a direct, “shock-and-awe”-type contact – not at all. There are stages that have been implemented to slowly and gradually introduce the ‘ideas’ behind/supporting other worldly intelligence (ie dispelling the belief slowly that “we are not alone”, etc and such similar beliefs)
    what is happening is the implementation of First Contact Specialists, who are human, completely and entirely – none of this hybrid species living cloaked among us scenario- who will serve as a bridge, a liaison that will introduce these ‘ideas’ first in forms of technology, etc. Actually, this has already been happening for many decades now. Only with the tidal waves of new innovations and technology in our day and age, are people more willing to accept ‘more’ new ideas. and really, it is expected! For Ex. could you imagine today’s common technology of our smart phone being suddenly available, say, during the height of WW2? No, too much of a ‘quantum’ leap. And though it was possible, it was too much for the human mind, thus populace, to comprehend and accept.
    So our first contact will really just be a gradual and continuation of what is already happening… which is What? (shrug shoulders, glazed-doughnut look) Exactly! It is occurring so gradually and all so far has become so easily accepted, this process’ agenda continues to go undetected, so to say;)
    So, Who will first land? It will be Humans! Those of us who have been training and learning the technologies for quite some time now (once again, as all along) but the first ET-type ships will be (and actually are) flown and landed by humans, and from there we will gradually introduce this technology to specific parts of the human world populace. And then from there will et life forms be introduced to the more general populace. Sorry to say, but it will really not be much of a surprise, but rather an ‘expected’ occurrence. It is all about Baby Steps…. and all world leaders know this technique. The best way to shape the human mind into non-destructive, non-rebellious conformity is by taking such seemingly unnoticeable changes in the direction of the end goal (regardless of which direction – unity or destruction), that essentially they are non-threatening, non belief-shattering, therefore do not spike any forms of mass hysteria/panic. The human mind is too fragile and steeped in many belief structures that gradual changes are necessary.
    So in conclusion…. human’s first contact with et life will be quite a shortly lived focus of attention, quite ordinary, “just the next natural and somewhat ‘expected’ step”. Look at our first moon-landing vs Any other space accomplishment to date… Mars mission rovers are lucky to get a 2 minute byline now and then; same with the Hubble deep-space! This is the plan and has been for many generations. Only Hollywood brings to light the fears of humanity on The Silver Screen, it serves this process greatly “to get the potential fears out of your system”; then when the events do come to pass, it is not such a shocking experience. Ex. The end of the world scenarios where the entire east coast is hit with a 1000′ tidal wave….. and then in real life, the tidal waves that hit in the pacific regions – far from 1000′ – more like 5 to 20′ – not so dramatic in comparison. Devastating yes, dramatic – no, Not in comparison. Most of us go on about our daily mundane lives the very next day.
    So, go on and enjoy your lives – our first contact will be no more exciting that meeting your new next door neighbor who just moved in from out of state! (at least that is what we are ‘planning’ ;-)

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