Social media became a key part of the emergency response to the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.Three people were killed - one of the victims was an eight-year-old boy - and over 100 injured after two explosions at the finish line of the event.Mayor of Boston Tom Menino tweeted a good luck message to the runners before the crisis unfolded. He then retweeted information from the official account of the Mayor's office, which responded quickly to the fast-moving events and tweeted advice and instruction to the public.
Boston Police department confirmed the news on the Twitter and appealed to the public to clear the area and submit any videos of the finish line.
Please avoid area of Copley Square to allow first reponders to work.— City of Boston (@NotifyBoston) April 15, 2013
The Boston Parks Department Twitter feed also sprung into action immediately, sharing information from a number of different Boston sources and becoming part of the social media coordination.
Community members wanting 2 assist this investigation anonymously can call the BPD’s Crime Stoppers Tip Line @ 1(800) 494-TIPS.— Boston Police Dept. (@Boston_Police) April 16, 2013
The dedicated Boston Marathon Twitter feed took part in the social media crisis response, providing information to runners and those involved in the marathon. The Boston Globe was praised for the speed of its social media reaction, tweeting a number of videos and pictures of the bombing. The Globe was the first to report one of the victims killed was an eight-year-old boy.
“@notifyboston: Please stay calm, avoid Copley Square area to allow law enforcement to continue investigation.”— Boston Parks Dept (@BostonParksDept) April 15, 2013
BREAKING NEWS: The Globe has confirmed that an 8-year-old boy was one of the two victims who died in the explosion.— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 15, 2013
Throughout the chaos there was some misinformation spreading throughout Twitter on the apprehension of suspects. Eric Twardzik, who described himself as a "fiction writer, journalist" on his profile, shared a number of pictures of a man surrounded by police on Boston common. It received over 3,000 tweets.
UPDATED: Boston Globe main story on the tragedy at Boston Marathon. Three confirmed dead; wounded now more than 130. bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/…— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 16, 2013
However, it was denied that the suspect in the pictures was connected to the incident.
Man on Boston common has been handcuffed. Police shouting at people to clear the area. twitter.com/Eric_Twardzik/…— Eric Twardzik (@Eric_Twardzik) April 15, 2013
Google also became involved in the aftermath, launching a people-finder tool to help people locate their loved ones.
To repeat, the man in this photo seems to be unrelated to the bombings. BPD says no one is in custody. twitter.com/Eric_Twardzik/…— Eric Twardzik (@Eric_Twardzik) April 15, 2013