By 2 years ago in Socialised

Boston Marathon: The importance of the Internet in a national crisis

When a crisis hits, the internet is at the forefront of communication and platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Google are being utilised more and more in emergency situations.

When explosions were first heard at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday (15th April 2013) news was spread primarily through the use of real-time platforms while traditional media trailed in their distribution.

Quick digital response to the situation also helped those in need find help and spread news at a pace unimaginable only five years ago.


Twitter played a big part in news distribution from the very start of the story:

The first tweet from a large influencer came from local source The Boston Globe


The Mayor’s Office was the next to make comment:

As well as the official Boston Police Department Twitter account: 


And the Boston Fire Department:

As usual, images were shared across the web but main news sites were using those that had originated via Twitter using mobile devices at the scene:


The use of Twitter seems to now also mean the use of its six second video making app Vine.

The most viral Vine video seems to be this one that captures the scene:

— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) April 15, 2013

Eric Cantor, Republican politician even tweeted a Vine video observing a moment’s silence for the victims:


One of the most encouraging uses of social media in a crisis is always the way that people band together and offer help to strangers in their hour of need. Almost instantly the hashtag #bostonhelp was born as concerned citizens offered meals, aid and even their homes to people who may be in need.





Youtube Spotlight

YouTube have created a spotlight channel for the crisis. The channel’s name is Explosions at the Boston Marathon and can be found here:

The channel gives a brief description of the situation and has pulled together all relevant news stories as well as amateur videos on the subject.

Google Person Finder

Google have again launched their Person Finder service. It was first created in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and allows anyone to input information about missing people.

Google Person Finder

By at 4:12PM on Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013