While following some business hashtags on twitter on Monday evening, I quickly realised that I had inadvertently stumbled across a global disaster – the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Showing in real time the updates, imagery and videos I was shocked to see and hear what was happening at the other side of the world.
I can’t recall a similar instance where announcements on the news were following updates across social media sites. Some of the posts were raw with the terror from those involved and it was awful to know that people were in that position and there was little that could be done to help them.
Twitter quickly came into its own during this event for the good of the situation with the Boston Marathon online registrations and finishing times being used by relatives to find out if they had completed the race. Google quickly developed a ‘person finder’ to help relatives to locate their missing relatives – an ingenius and inspired idea.
The Boston Globe, the local newspaper in the Boston area, quickly started to report from the scene posting regularly across twitter. As the news unfolded the posts came in thick and fast. There’s no doubt that social media can lead to speculation or presumption but in this instance people seemed content to share updates as they were received and to send messages of genuine concern.
What caught my attention most was the response from the media to find out who was posting the images and videos and request that they have permission to use them across their own mediums. Again, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a good example of amateur footage being used across the global news channels.
A piece which appeared in the Drum yesterday gives a good review of how the news updates were posted and shared across social media. It’s almost scary to see how quickly the situation was reported as a result of real time feeds.
Needless to say my heart absolutely goes out to those who were involved and particularly those who lost their lives. This was an event that would once have been a national disaster – yet thanks, in part, to social media it has become a global tragedy and I think I speak for the majority when I say that we are all collective in our grief for what has happened however it was reported.