Social Media Effects of #Bostonstrong

Uncategorized Posted Apr 23, 2013 by Kayla Krause

BostonStrongRibbonGiven the events of last week, it’s safe to say that not only Boston, MA and New England were affected by the marathon bombings, but the entire nation seemed to be overtaken by this sequence of events. I live in Boston but was not in the area at the time of the event – I was visiting family and friends down in North Carolina. Despite my geographical location, I still received all of the news; even North Carolina’s local news stations were broadcasting footage and reporting on the marathon bombings. I also had friends from Colorado and family in Oregon reaching out, checking to see if my family and I were alright. It seemed pretty apparent that every, and I mean every, news station across the country seemed to have some reporting, if not 24/7 coverage of this.

But it was also the social media that seemed to increase heavily in volume. From Twitter to Facebook, tweets of marathon photos, and statuses of police reports and suspect updates were being posted every couple of minutes. I could barely keep track of my newsfeed people were posting so frequently – which brings me to the point of this blog. How did social media impact the Boston Marathon bombings?

People log onto Facebook and Twitter more than a few times a day, every day. There are the usual posts, about going to the gym or how the weather makes someone feel that day or what they thought of the person who got voted off American Idol last night. But sometimes they post videos or tweet links of news articles that go viral. We all remember “Charlie Bit My Finger,” right? Or Donald Trump’s infamous “$5 billion” letter to President Obama last year? Both are a result of social media.

I think it’s safe to say that some, if not a majority, of the people today receive their news from social media since it’s a huge part of our daily lives and means of communication. This would explain the spike in using Facebook and Twitter during last week’s bombings as well. People in the Boston area were even being told to use these outlets to talk to others because cell phone reception was poor. It was because of social media access that people were able to communicate to friends and families that were trying to get in touch with them after Monday’s marathon.

There’s a pro and a con to everything though. Some days you may be so annoyed with your friend because they’re too “open” about their relationship on facebook or they’re tweeting ideas that should be kept private.  Sometimes, people post incorrect news or false claims about a political or prominent figure in society. Same goes for the marathon bombings. Some people were posting things that were quickly picked up and retweeted or shared on Facebook so people began believing these incorrect posts. However, these were swiftly taken down and proved to be false.

It’s clear that social media can have an impact on today’s society, whether it’s the latest celebrity scoop, today’s sports recap or a national security event. It was proven last week as people were able to bond through Facebook and Twitter, sharing sorrow and sympathy for one another and coining the phrase “Boston Strong.” The community of Boston came together, in more ways than one; the entire crowd sang the National Anthem at last Wednesday’s Bruin’s game, the One Fund Boston Inc. was created to help those affected, and the Red Sox wore “Boston” across their jerseys in last Saturday’s game. What happened last Monday will always be remembered, especially by those victims and the police force. We will never forget, and we will always be Boston Strong.