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Social media helps students stand in solidarity

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Albany/HV: Social media helps students stand in solidarity
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Social media has played a strong role in how students and community members have responded to the tragic crash last weekend on the Northway. Our Beth Croughan has more.

LATHAM, N.Y. -- Shaker High juniors and seniors gathered in green in the gym on Friday. Their clapping and chanting was recorded and then posted on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. It was just one of many ways support has been sent via the Internet, this week. They were sent to those affected by Saturday's fatal-Northway crash.

"What this illuminates, I think, is that social media also could be a tremendous positive source to build community. To galvanize and rally people together to do positive things and to do good things for each other," said North Colonie Central School District Superintendent Joseph Corr.

Superintendent Corr said 140,000 people from across the country have read the district's posts. And through social media, students organized movements.

"The wearing of blue, the wearing of green, the sending of cards, of banners. And not just from Shaker and Shenendehowa but we've received things from Stillwater and from Cobleskill-Richmondville. You know, it's been regionwide," he said.

And nationwide. Monday night, students and community members started trending #TebowCallMatt. That's how pro-football player Tim Tebow learned of the crash and spoke with Shen junior Matt Hardy in the hospital. Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin followed up with a phone call to Bailey Wind.

"To call this normal is a little difficult because it's so new. But in terms of the way that young adults, kids in high school, middle school, so forth. Social media now is such an important part of the fabric of their social life. That it is certainly if not the first, one of the first things that they will reach to," said Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rudy Nydegger.

Dr. Nydegger said it's a good thing, but was quick to remind that it doesn't replace a real, live hug.

But as Superintendent Corr suggests, this has shown students the hugs may come from both near and far.

"This is just a different venue for doing what might have taken place in someone's living room in the past. I think it's a much bigger living room. And it's a living room that crosses communities, crosses even state and national lines as well," said Corr.

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