Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
When the explosions happened, I was at school, so we turned on the TV and watched the aftermath, could not tear our eyes away, although the images were horrible, and speculation was rampant. But that was not what stuck with me.
What I remember most were all the tweets – from friends, acquaintances, news media, police, government. I fell into the stream of information, emotion, horror, empathy – fell in headlong and could not step away from it, although I wanted to. I watched the new information come in, watched as friends were heartbroken and scared, watched as speculations and rumors started, watched as photos and videos popped up. I could not look away. During the next few days I got very little sleep, keeping up with what was happening, sending virtual hugs to friends who were affected. There were times when I teared up at a particularly emotional post or a particularly heartbreaking photo, there were times I was angry. All sorts of emotions, unsteadying and shaking me to the core.
But one thing I found amazing, following the discussions and news on Twitter and elsewhere online, was the amount of empathy and support being exchanged between people. Google Docs set up to offer housing for runners and other people stuck in Boston. Tools to see where runners were last tracked with their GPS. Dozens of blog posts where people just talked about how amazing and strong their city was. Friends saying they were going out for a run and running “until they were almost sick”, in a cathartic outpouring of grief and support. All of these things broke my heart, but also put it back together.
The power of media to connect people was evident in these days, but it was the brilliance and messiness of people being people that made it worth remembering. And that is what I will treasure.