My social media after the Boston Marathon bombing
When the news of the bombings at the Boston Marathon broke, I began to contact my family. One of my brothers was downtown that afternoon, just a few blocks from the sites of the blasts. Very scary. Unlike others, I am able to say that my family was safe. My heart goes out to the victims, their families. And I am grateful for law enforcement and first responders who went above and beyond, as they do so often, in keeping order and the public safe during a week like no other before in Boston.
I could not concentrate or think straight the entire week. It was clear from the first reports that this was bad. We had been hit. Many, many people had been injured and a few had died. The week had only just begun. When the photos were releases of the two suspects Thursday afternoon, the manhunt began. Then, tragedy struck again. An MIT police officer shot dead in his patrol car late Thursday, setting off a stand off in nearby Watertown. I got only a few hours of sleep Thursday night into Friday. I woke up Friday to a text from a friend asking “are you watching this?”. That’s never good.
The entire city of Boston and much of its surroundings were on total lockdown. The Governor asked citizens to “shelter in place”, meaning not leave where they were. Law enforcement combed the area where they believed their suspect was. Shortly after the shelter in place order was lifted, authorities got the tip they needed. They soon had their suspect. Crowds gathered in the streets in celebration and in praise of local police departments who had been working tirelessly all week. One of the hardest weeks in Boston’s long and storied history had come to an end.
Another huge part of this tragic week was social media. People were getting lots of information from Twitter. And many learned the hard way that just because it’s on Twitter - from a reputable source, doesn’t mean it’s true. I’m not going to make this blog post a critique the news media. That’s not my place. I wanted to relate what I did on social media during this week.
On Monday when the news broke, I immediately deleted all of the items I had scheduled to post on Twitter for the day. Sadly, by day’s end I decided to jettison all posts for the week. Everyone knew that this was abject tragedy. No way would I want some random article or YouTube video to be emanating from my account during this. It would be disrespectful.
Like many others, I changed my Facebook profile picture and cover photo. I also changed my Twitter AVI. I occasionally retweeted news items related to the events in Boston. I posted the positive and encouraging images that began circulating on social media. I basically shifted gears entirely, posting only news/information and good thoughts for Boston.
I tried my best not to go overboard. I wanted each item I posted to have a purpose and to be respectful of the situation going on in Boston, my hometown.
Friday night, when the long week came to a close, I posted this on my Facebook page:
My profile picture there is a shot of David Ortiz addressing the crowd at Fenway on Saturday afternoon following the bombings.
Our personal social media output is a reflection of who we are as individuals, as people. I hope I demonstrated good form. Please continue to keep Boston in your thoughts, along with the victims and their families. They may have hit us wanting to make us weak. But they have only made us strong. Boston Strong.