I’m so saddened by today’s events. As a runner, I know what type of disorientation the body (and mind) experiences after such a long distance. Then to have your personal victory met with the harrowing echoes of screams and shards of glass flying at you – the experience is unimaginable. The outpour of support, prayers and outreach has been encouraging and I think social media has played a big role in facilitating that support.
Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube brought us the news as it happened. And just as quickly, these same networks created a sub-network of people who were willing to help in some way. Today, Mashable reported that the Boston community has built out a massive Google Doc indexing homes and space availability for anyone who has been displaced by today’s events. On Facebook, over 16,000 people are talking about the Boston Marathon and #prayforboston has been trending internationally on Twitter all afternoon. The topic has quickly risen as a ‘popular’ topic, proving that social media brings people together at lightning speeds.
I think it’s easy to forget how powerful social media is. Throughout our coursework we talk about ways that social media can be used to market a product or communicate a selling point. Today’s events though underlined how well social media can not only inform the masses but also organize a coalition of people who are willing to help others in need.
As coverage over the next few days unfolds, I think it will be interesting to see how our own social media networks flood with thoughts about what happened, questions asking why and reflections about how grateful individuals are in their own lives. It’s events like these that remind me that social media networks have changed the way consumers access, talk about and react to news. While social networking can sometimes be met with criticism or misunderstanding, I hope people don’t forget how these networks facilitate fast response to such a tragic event.