NPR : News

Filed Under:

Social Media Helped Find Loved Ones After Marathon Bombing

In the chaos and mayhem that followed the Boston Marathon bombing, many people were frantic to learn the fate of friends and loved ones who were either in the race or watched it from the sidelines.

But heavy cellphone use caused frustrating delays and congestion in the system, prompting the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to tweet: "if you are trying to reach friends or family and can't get through via phone, try texing instead (less bandwidth)." Later, MEMA tweeted the Boston mayor's hotline number for locating individuals.

With cellphones mostly not working, marathoner Sara Bozorg and her boyfriend went home and logged onto Facebook, where she posted that she was OK.

"I have been following my friend's Facebook [account] who is near the scene, and she is updating everyone before it even gets to the news," Bozorg told National Geographic by email Monday night.

Another runner, 51-year-old Julie Jeske, of Bismarck, N.D., had finished about 15 minutes before the loud explosions ripped through the finish line. The Associated Press reports that she tried to call her parents but couldn't get through. Meanwhile, a friend was able to post on Facebook that she was all right.

"I felt so bad," Jeske told the AP. "When I was finally able to reach them, my mom said she was just absolutely beside herself with fear."

Others used Google's Person Finder website. A few hours after the explosion, the site indicated it was tracking 3,600 records, the AP reports. Another similar website, called Safe and Well, is run by the American Red Cross.

KTVI-TV in St. Louis reported the story of Sarah Dexter, who had come with some of her family to watch the race.

When the bombs went off, she dialed frantically and unsuccessfully on her cellphone trying to reach her cousin as another relative started running up the street to find her daughter.

Eventually a Facebook post and a text got through, and she located her cousin about an hour after the blasts, according to KTVI. None of Dexter's group was hurt in the explosions.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Remembering Robert Swanson, Advertising's 'King Of Jingles'

Robert Swanson revolutionized American advertising and wrote some of the most memorable ad jingles of the 1950s and '60s for products ranging from Campbell's Soup to Pall Mall cigarettes. He died at 95 July 17 at his home in Phoenix, Ariz.
NPR

More Than Just Saying 'Cheese,' Hundreds Sit Test To Become Official Experts

The American Cheese Society will begin proctoring its next Certified Cheese Professional Exam in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, during the group's annual conference.
WAMU 88.5

Democratic National Convention Day Two: Uniting The Party

An update on day two of the Democratic convention: Bill Clinton takes the stage and ongoing efforts by party leaders to build unity.

WAMU 88.5

How To Help Teens And Children Fight 'Tech Addiction'

Many parents and therapists say obsessive internet use is a very real problem for some teens and children. But the term “internet addiction” is controversial and not officially recognized as a disorder. How to help kids who compulsively use computers and mobile technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.