Commentary

Giants riot news spreads on the Web

Updated: November 5, 2010, 1:15 AM ET
By Ryan Corazza | Special to ESPN.com

In this constantly evolving age of social media, no event of record is going on without citizen documentation.

[+] EnlargeGiants riot
Stephen Lam/Getty ImagesSan Francisco police officers look to contain a small fire as Giants fans celebrate the team's World Series victory outside AT&T Park.

Not even riots in the streets of San Francisco.

Yes, it's true: After the San Francisco Giants finished off the Texas Rangers in the World Series on Monday, fans took to the Mission District of San Francisco -- and social media was there every step of the way.

The #SFriot hashtag on Twitter became a trending topic and was littered with citizen journalism. And those listening along to the chaos on the San Francisco police scanner were poking in with updates via the #SFscanner hashtag.

"We have a man out of his mind here, no shirt, baggy blue jeans. He's a white male with scruffy beard and a plastic samurai sword," transcribed one tweeter who was following along on the scanner.

Others commented on a taxi that was carjacked and made its way up to 90 mph shortly thereafter.

A crowdsourced tweet map gave a visual representation of what madness was happening where.

And there were plenty of pictures and video of the chaos -- from a bank's broken window at 22nd and Mission, to fans jumping over a bonfire at that same intersection.

There was also a live video stream of the events set up on Ustream.

And perhaps the biggest doozy of them all: Foursquare users were checking into riots at Haight Street and Polk Street.

Oversharing? Some would say so.

But it's really just a reflection of how we're now living in the digital age: eager to share our experiences and express our feelings under an ever-looser definition of privacy.

Twitter outlet for NBA feud

On Tuesday night, after the Pistons lost to the Celtics, Detroit forward Charlie Villanueva took to Twitter to vent about Boston's Kevin Garnett; it was the Pistons' fourth loss in a row to start the season.

Charlie Villanueva
Allen Einstein/Getty ImagesCharlie Villanueva might be known more for his Twitter comments than his basketball.

"KG talks alot of crap, he's prob never been in a fight, I would love to get in a ring with him, I will expose him," read the first tweet.

"KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke. I wouldn't even trip about that, but a cancer patient, I know way 2 many people who passed away from it, and I have a special place 4 those." read the second two.

Villanueva has alopecia universalis, a skin disease which causes hair loss.

On Wednesday, Garnett refuted the claim in a prepared statement, saying he called Villanueva "cancerous to your team and our league."

Villanueva didn't back down, as he was later quoted as saying "I know exactly what I heard."

But whoever you believe, social media's tie here is that Twitter allowed Villanueva -- who's been one of the central NBA players on the platform -- a quick, real-time outlet to vent his frustration and anger to his followers, many of whom are his fans.

Villanueva wasn't prompted by a reporter on this. He put it out there on his own accord from athlete straight to fan -- what this new age of digital communication is often about.

But he also broke a bit of an NBA code. Trash talk, no matter how harsh, isn't something that's supposed to be aired out to the masses in a public forum.

In the aftermath, Villanueva's brother acknowledged to ESPN Boston that Charlie "could have handled it a little differently."

But what's done is done, and Twitter's ability to draw our top-of-mind thoughts into its endless stream -- no matter the consequences -- has struck yet again.

Ryan Corazza is a freelance writer and Web designer based in Chicago who also contributes to ESPN Insider's NBA Rumor Central.

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