Twitter, Tragedy, and our Finest Hour

By now I’m sure most (if not all) of you have heard about the tragic events that occurred during yesterday’s running of the Boston Marathon.  Like most of the world, I learned of the news through social media.  My twitter timeline was flooding so fast I could not keep up.  Within seconds, the world was updated with news of the explosion, 140 characters at a time.  And as the news spread, others began to chime in.

While some were quick to point fingers and call it a “terrorist attack”, the most impactful messages were those of prayer, hope, and help and they seemed to outnumber the calls for hate and retaliation by 1000:1.

One of the biggest advantages of living in this digital age was how quickly we were able to check on those we love and care about.  My employer (EMC) was a large sponsor of the race.  Not only did we have people covering the race, but we also had coworkers running in it.  It was the power of twitter and my network of friends that let me know that everyone was safe and accounted for.

For those who were running in the race who we could not reach, technology provided us with a glimmer of hope in the form of tracking the racers bibs.  My friend Matt Brender put out a message of hope directing people to check on racers they know and see where they last checked in.

The link and message he shared was picked up by many and is a perfect example of how the online community can come together to help one and other.

With facts, rumors, and educated guesses flying around, all the news agencies were quick to get the story out, and not all of them got it right.  What surprised me the most was that the most credible news updates came from the hacker collective Anonymous.  They were quick to put out the message of ongoing activity, numbers to call, and facts (instead of conjecture) as they unfolded.

As the sun started to set and the dust began to settle, the messages switched to that of hope.  A Google doc was created full of people around the area willing to help shelter anyone that had been displaced by the days events.  People were willing to open up their homes in a showing of solidarity.  If anything, yesterday made the city of Boston and the nation stronger and why I believe this was our finest hour.

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  • http://twitter.com/DathBrun Mark Browne

    Great post, glad you are safe and sorry to see the city of Boston and its populace suffer the horrors of a bombing. Boston is a home from home for me, so it’s been tough seeing this happen. That said around the World city and town bombings are horrible atrocities that have to cease. the spirit of the Boston community in the aftermath and what you shared is a great of example of hope and compassion in the face of adversity and extremism.