I am a Qorvis MSLGROUP transplant from Boston and like all other Bostonians, I was thrilled for Marathon Monday. It is a day that always makes me reflect back on my childhood when my family would plant ourselves on Beacon Street, order subs and set up a table to pass out water to the thousands of runners going by.
This Marathon Monday was different. As I was in a meeting, I heard my co-worker say “There was an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.”
My heart dropped.
Immediately, I went to Twitter and searched Boston Marathon and there it was. Within minutes of the bombs going off, there were thousands of updates, images and Vines of the bombs and the scene at the finish line. As the day went on and more news came out, I continued to monitor my Twitter to stay up-to-date and get live reports of new information through the #Boston, #PrayforBoston and #BostonMarathon hashtags.
At the end of the day when I checked my social media sites, I learned that my friends who I couldn’t get a hold of were OK. People provided updates about where they were staying, expressing condolences and sharing their stories on Facebook and Twitter.
In the days after the Marathon, Facebook and Twitter became platforms that showcased an outpouring of love for Boston. #BostonStrong has been appearing everywhere and has united a national conversation about the tragedy that happened that day.
As I continue to reflect during the days after the Marathon I can’t help but think about the huge role that social media played on that day and in the days after.
Social media connected loved ones who couldn’t get through to each other on the phone or via text. Social media gave stranded Marathon runners and attendees a list of places to stay if they couldn’t make it home or to their hotel. Social media helped the American Red Cross solicit blood donations to help those injured in the bombings (a request which was filled within just a few hours of the bombings). Social media has helped the Boston PD gather images and information from race attendees. Social media has helped raise thousands of dollars to assist runners and spectators hurt in Monday’s race.
Most importantly, social media has shown the people of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the runners from all over the world who ran, that thoughts and prayers are with them during this horrible tragedy and that Boston is truly strong.
By Jill Grozalsky