Here is what has been reported.
According to Florida Today, a woman tweeted at 5:22 p.m. Monday about the fog over Brevard County in Florida. Some time between 5:22 p.m. and 5:38 p.m., her 2-year-old son fell into a swimming pool and was found floating in it.
911 records reportedly show that his mother called the paramedics at 5:38 p.m. Monday. At 6:12 p.m., she reportedly sent an update to her Twitter page, Military_Mom. It read: "Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool." (The tweet has since been removed.)
Her name is Shellie Ross. She is a regular tweeter and has a blog called Blog4Mom. Not long after she tweeted for her 5,300 followers' prayers, her 2-year-old son, Bryson, was pronounced dead.
At 11:08 p.m. Monday, she reportedly tweeted: "Remember my million dollar baby," along with a picture of her dead son.
The Huffington Post reported that her tweets caused some people to offer little sympathy.
@jalynsandoval (whose Twitter page has since been removed) reportedly tweeted: "military_mom 's fault for not keeping an eye on her son while he was next to the pool. she was to (sic) busy with twitter i guess. RIP kid."
Shellie Ross, military_mom, reportedly replied to this tweet: "@jalynsandoval you are an ass, I was outside w/him and it took 2 sec for him to slip away, I hope U never feel this pain u ass."
Florida Today reported that Ross' friends describe her as "a fantastic mother who is devoted to her children." Moreover, Brevard County authorities reportedly describe it as an accidental drowning.
A child is dead. A mother sent Twitter updates. And some who don't know her criticized her actions.
This is what has been reported. Can anyone make sense of it? Should anyone make sense of it? Or does the very use of Twitter, given its public nature, make everyone fair game for even passing critics?
The minute you tweet, you sacrifice your privacy for the sake of some greater sense of connection, some greater sense of urgency. A tweet is a report, one that will subsequently be re-reported and re-interpreted.
They may call it social media. But the society it brings together isn't always one of your choosing.