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Social Hour: #PrayForBoston

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I start this week’s social hour with a heavy heart. My thoughts go out to those who were injured or lost loved ones in explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Many news outlets have been following the story since it broke Monday afternoon, including us. And answers are still forthcoming about who was behind what happened.

Our readers were concerned about friends, family members and even neighbors who were participating in the run. We were also worried and wanted to provide significant information to help the victims and their families.

When the news broke, sports writer Stephanie Kuzydym took to Twitter to report on how many Oklahomans were participating in the race at the time of the explosions.

She reports that 86 people from Oklahoma were registered; however, 10 of those never made it to the halfway mark. The bombs exploded in the crowded streets of the finish line.

Our staff worked together to track down some of those participants to collect their stories. This one is from a woman who had just finished the 26.2 miles of the marathon when she felt the ground shake:

Susan Planer Phillips sat in a wheelchair and bent over to loosen up the laces on her grey and blue Asics running shoes. 

She just finished the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon and wanted to go through getting her finisher medal and personal bag with her phone and clothes. Moments after she stood up, she felt the ground shake.

A nearby female runner grabbed hold of her. 

“I immediately thought, ‘Oh my god,” Phillips told The Oklahoman from a Starbucks about three blocks from the explosion. 

From the moment the first explosion was reported until the first casualty was confirmed, people were using social media to talk about the terrifying scene. Social media has become an essential part of the workflow for journalists, but it has also become a resource for citizens.

Boston police used Twitter to inform the public of street closures, updates on the investigation and false reports of a suspect in custody. Officers even shared tip numbers, asking people to call in any information they might have.

Overall, social media allowed media outlets and authorities to convey a variety of information about a horrifying and breaking situation. Even though some of the photos posted might be graphic, other users opted to share uplifting photos of city. Here’s one with the words “Our hearts and prayers go out to Boston.”

You can also use the hashtag #PrayForBoston. I know I will be.

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Tiffany Gibson

Tiffany Gibson has worked for The Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the enterprise team and digital desk. In addition to writing and web editing, she creates interactive features for and assists with data visualization and... Read more ›