Earlier this week, Boston experienced its share of terror after two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon.
With the help of the internet, pictures and video footage captured by citizens, law enforcement was able to end the massive manhunt for the two suspects accused of committing the terror onto the city within four days.
I personally have been really engaged in the news, probably a little more engaged than normal. I’ve watched as investigators quickly tried to put the pieces together, placing names to two faces and conducting a massive manhunt for the men, with more than 9,000 officials searching high and low.
My TV was on various news networks 24/7. All of the news apps on my phone constantly kept me updated with little notifications that popped up at least six times a day from each news source.
Social media even played a big part! Twitter, Reddit and Facebook in my opinion were very active in updating people, given the fact that it was citizens and news organizations updating individuals.
So it was no surprise to me when I read two articles, one about how great of a job Reddit did on informing individuals and another that explained how Twitter “broke” the story of the Boston Bombings first; in addition to Google adding “Boston Marathon Explosion” to its Person Finder tool to help individuals find their loved ones.
The articles really put it out there about how important social media can be in times of crisis and how well the news works with it. Twitter may have “broke” the story, but it was the old forms of media like CNN, The Boston Globe, and The New York Times that took to Twitter to inform us. As a chain reaction, we informed friends by retweeting and engaging in conversation about the bombings while reporters and news organizations quickly gathered information to continue to update us on the story.
In terms of internet and technology, Google really did its part. I do think that the article in a short sentence, publicized Google’s Person Finder tool that many may not have known about. It is designed to help family and friends locate loved ones during humanitarian disasters like this one. This experience also showed how important information is to the true name of journalism. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times removed its paywalls for coverage of the massacre, although this is not the first time this was done for news of this standard.
Overall the internet played a very strong role in informing us. Raw video footage was all over Twitter. Pictures worth thousands of words really showed graphically the destruction, which surfaced all across the web. It gave individuals outside of the city a chance to understand what was going on. It also gave the news a chance to update and really try to gather information – although the race to break exclusive news led to inaccurate information – to the people.
This whole experience showed that we as a society, although busy all the time and seemingly more concerned with celebrity news, can actually pay attention to the news, when it’s breaking at least.