Social Media and the Boston Bombing

Marathon Monday is always a joyous occasion in the city of Boston, but last year, two men intruded on the safety and pride of the runners and spectators. As a New England native, I was glued to my phone and the TV when I heard the news about the bombing. Many of my close friends and family live in Boston or attend the marathon every year.

Along with watching constant coverage on the news, I also kept up-to-date on Twitter. Though there were many posts under the hashtag #BostonStrong, #BostonBombing and #Bostonmarathon, the biggest phenomenon I noticed was the hashtag #BostonPoliceScanner which detailed the actions of the police. Through the internet and certain apps, civilians were able to listen to the scanner and give their reports on the pursuit of the bombers.


This showcases gatekeeping in the hands of the “audience” because any internet user could post to Twitter about the happenings of the police scanner. The police’s actions were no longer a secret and the news media could not keep these actions from the public either.

On the blog essentiallyAli, social media blogger and consultant Ali commented on the Boston Bombing and the actions of social media in her article “3 Ways Social Media Affected the Boston Bombing Investigation.” She mentions the #BostonPoliceScanner hashtag, as well as the false reports from Twitter users, and the users who made a false Twitter account pretending to be Dzhokar Tsarnaev. The latter is a similar idea to the fake YouTube personalities seen in this week’s video in class.

In addition to the misleading information from former “audience” on social media, the news media also published false information in a expedient fashion. They wanted to be the first to break the story and did not research each lead to the fullest. This caused much panic and confusion among the masses.

In conclusion, the Boston Bombing was covered in a shoddy, discombobulated fashion using Instagram to show the marathon route blown to smithereens, Twitter to retweet unconfirmed news, Facebook to express deep sorrows, and many other blogs, and social platforms as well.


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