COLUMBUS -- In a world of viral videos and social media, it didn't take long for the rest of the country to know -- and see -- exactly what happened at the Ohio State Fair.

With a quick click or a tap, people could see for themselves.

Video that captured the Fire Ball thrill ride breaking apart Wednesday -- throwing two riders into the air and sending a four-seat section plunging to the ground -- quickly began circulating on social media after the incident occurred around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday. The incident killed one and injured seven others.

In a time when nearly everyone has a cellphone in hand and can create and share content, society can expect more tragedies will be captured on video, whether intentionally or not, experts say.

"This is the new norm," said David Schmid, associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo, who specializes in American popular culture and violence.

The teen who recorded one video circulating on social media told television stations he'd been using the social video application Snapchat with his friends when he caught the tragic accident on camera.

The video has been shared widely on social media; some posted it with headlines of what happened, others shared it with words of disbelief and sorrow. By late Thursday afternoon, one five-second video of the incident had more than a million views on YouTube.

Some objected to friends and media outlets posting and sharing the video, saying it was in bad taste and disrespectful to the victims and their families.

"So sad what happened at the Ohio State Fair," wrote one Twitter user. "Please refrain from sharing the video. Those are someone's family members."

"Please stop sharing video footage of the awful accident that happened at the Ohio State Fair. Have some respect," wrote another.

The Columbus Dispatch did not post the video Wednesday night because of concerns over its graphic nature and the effect it would have on the victims' families. An edited version was posted on Dispatch.com on Thursday, with the videographer's permission, that shows the seats separating but not the victims falling from them.

Such a situation stirs a debate not only in newsrooms but among the public about responsible and appropriate social media use in today's society, Schmid said.

"It's really a complicated question, because on the one hand, now people record everything and anything, just on a reflex," he said. "I don't think they consciously think about it, in many cases."

The sharing of graphic videos or images on social media and how those platforms handle that content is coming to a forefront, said Nikki Usher, associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

"There's a real question about how (social media platforms) are going to start to, or are continuing to regulate, content," Usher said.

The aftermath of experiencing or witnessing a tragedy can linger far beyond the few seconds a person experiences it.

The biggest problem that can occur when experiencing or witnessing such a tragedy is anxiety, said Dr. Megan Schabbing, medical director of psychiatric emergency services at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. How a person responds will be determined by their past experiences.

Researchers are still trying to determine whether a person can experience trauma from watching an event on TV, and Schabbing said it depends on the person. Someone who internalizes problems, has a history of trauma or has a psychiatric disorder is more likely to experience symptoms.

This can also affect children, Schabbing said.

"If a child is prone to having anxiety, one thing that can be anxiety provoking is watching bad things happening on the news," she said.

The posting and sharing of graphic video speaks to a shifting culture in which people seem to need social media proof that an event actually occurred, said Schmid and Usher.

"Increasingly, nothing happens unless it's on social media," Schmid said.

The sharing and viewing of social content surrounding violence and tragedy is the internet-age version of slowing down to look at a car crash, Schmid said. "It's the social media equivalent of rubber-necking."

As society continues to post and share this content, we lose our sensitivity, Schmid said.

"One of the consequences of that is that incidents like this become routinized," he said. "Everything just becomes part of the same unbroken stream of media."

Dispatch Reporter JoAnne Viviano contributed to this story.

jsmola@dispatch.com

@jennsmola