Communicating with the MASSes: The Use of Social Media during Tragedy

Yesterday started out just like any other; I checked in with my social media sites to see what was happening around the world. With school vacation under way, people were posting photos from their beach resorts and with the Boston Marathon 2013 taking place, I commented on friends posts and went out for a short run myself dreaming that I was a marathon runner just like all of them.
As Patriots Day unfolded, and as the marathon runners crossed the finished line, my heart went out to all of those courageous people that made the 26.1 mile trek. These folks are all heroes in my book, just for completing a run of this caliber.
It was just after 4 hours into the marathon when the video was seen on TV and the news reporter announced that a blast occurred near the finish line. At that moment my mind went into panic for my friends that were in Boston. Again, I turned to social media looking for news that these people were ok. Without seeing a post or having received a text, I quickly sent an in-box message, requesting a post that they were somewhere safe, for all to see. Within the hour a post was made announcing their where-abouts and my heart returned to normal….well, as normal as it could be after observing the tragic situation from afar.
The lesson here is that social media platforms have become our community connections. They report news to the masses in a split second. When you find yourself far from home or in an area where tragedy is happening, reach out and let others know that you are safe. If you are unable to post, text a friend and have them post to your wall or “tag” you in a post such that it appears on your wall. It certainly reduces the stress and worrying for those friends and family back home.
As for business pages, the best advise I have seen is from Jon Loomer: He shares, the constant reminder of the five things you should do in such a situation are as follows: (1) Stop Everything, (2) Listen and Observe, (3) Contribute or React, (4) Evaluate Planned Content, (5) Reboot.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people that were at the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. We Love You Boston! Be brave, be strong and carry on.

reference to Jon Loomer and his blog post April 16, 2013. http://www.jonloomer.com/2013/04/16/social-media-marketing-tragedy/

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