Techworld

Web sites go dark to honor Sandy Hook victims

Sites like <i>Huffington Post</i>, Foursquare and Funny or Die mark moment of silence

A long list of Web sites went dark for one minute at 9:30 a.m. ET today to mark a moment of silence for the 26 women and children who were murdered a week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Earlier this week, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy asked the nation to pause for a collective moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting. Then a campaign, called Web Goes Silent, was launched to ask Internet users to take a five-minute break from their online activities. Using the hashtag #momentforsandyhook, that meant no posting on Facebook, no tweeting, no email.

The cause evolved, with the site Webmomentofsilence.org offering Web administrators a piece of JavaScript that greyed out their web page for a minute at 9:30, while a message appeared, noting, "We are observing a National Moment of Silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy."

The Huffington Post was among many websites that observed the moment of silence.

Web sites participating in the online moment of silence included Foursquare, the Huffington Post, Adobe, Funny or Die, E! Online and Digg.

A host of other, lesser-known sites like Columbusridesbikes.com and iVillage.com also joined in.

Using the site causes.com , Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, has been putting his muscle behind the moment of silence campaign, along with an effort to expand federal gun control legislation. Conway has been joined by other prominent names like online entrepreneur Sean Parker, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey and the founder and CEO of salesforce.com, Marc Benioff.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said he's glad to see social media being used to bring people together for a good cause - the remembrance of victims.

"I think it was very respectful for Web sites to take a moment," he said. "It's very good to see that social media isn't just for Justin Bieber posts. I think what this group of companies showed is that they are tied into real world, real life events. And when the need arises, they have their own form of showing respect and honoring tragedies."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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