Once again, in the wake of the tragic bombings yesterday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, social media quickly became the most important communications channel(s) available – for millions.
Twitter has long held the premier spot for instant reporting and dialogue in and out of difficult or distrubtive events but perhaps for the first time, really, Google+ lived up to its potential along side its sister, YouTube.
News of the bombings were hitting the Twitscape well before any news organization could get the story online, although the Boston Globe was Tweeting within moments of the attack.
BREAKING: A witness reports hearing two loud booms near the Boston Marathon finish line.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 15, 2013
The Google+ stream was every bit as active as the Twitter stream within moments of the bombings.
Using the #BostonMarathon hashtags already in place for the race on both social networks, news (and some rumors and some misinformation) was flooding the social spaces before televisions could even be turned on. The hash, #prayforBoston," also quickly gained traction.
Those hashtags have today given way to #Boston, #BostonBombing and #BostonMarathon2013. They remain, on both Twitter and Google+ up-to-the-minute spots for reporting and, finally, rumor dispelling and misinformation correcting.
Within an hour, Google directed its Person Finder to the efforts of locating and verifying those who might? have been in the race or near it. And Google also set up on YouTube a spotlight dedicated to the unfolding events in Boston.
We're quite sure local running and triathlon clubs all over the world were using their social channels to check on members and friends in the race – or near it. I know our own running and triathlon clubs were quick to post the finishing times of our runners while assuring friends all were safe and many of us were talking back and forth with runners via Twitter and Facebook.
UPDATE: Both Twitter and Google+ were blowing up Friday night as the manhunt for the alleged bomber reached its final, fevered pitch. CNN, if you can trust its accuracy, compiled a Storify of Tweets.
SoMe aids Denver Post Putlizer win.
Overshadowed by the Boston bombings was the announcement yesterday of the Pulitzer Prizes and social media played a prominent role in a Pulitzer win for The Denver Post.
Once again covering a tragic and senseless violent rampage – the shootings at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado – the Pulitzer committee cited the Post's use of "journalistic tools, from Twitter and Facebook to video and written reports, both to capture a breaking story and provide context."