Chaos and mayhem followed in the wake of the two deadly bomb blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this week.
With so many onlookers, victims and authorities frantically trying to coordinate relief efforts, phone and cell lines were overwhelmed and disrupted, with many locals reporting they simply could not get through.
But the social media sphere proved to be a beacon of light in amongst the darkness.
As Bostonians stood in shock in the aftermath of the blasts it seems they were compelled to reach out and help those most in need – satisfying the instinctual human yearning to lend a hand
Before the local police had even finished cordoning off the area surrounding the horrific scenes, locals had turned to Twitter to offer a place to stay to people in need.
The Boston Marathon, one of the world’s largest marathons, attracts more than 20,000 competitors from across the globe. Many of these participants where left without accommodation and some would have been to disturbed to make plans to travel or move on from the US city.
So began the overwhelming outpour from Bostonians, offering beds, couches, blankets, meals and anything else they could think of to those who needed it.
A Facebook group called: “Affected by the explosions at the Boston Marathon? We’re here to help?” sprang up immediately with hundreds of people joining and posting messages like:
– If anyone needs a place to stay near Washington Square in Brookline, we have a couch, soft floors and blankets/pillows
– College student with car. Message me if you need a ride anywhere
– We can accommodate one person on our couch, if you need a place to stay, or if you just need a hot meal or a bathroom. We live in North Quincy, five minutes from the Red Line. Please message me if you need it.
Tweeters also joined in the camaraderie, with a number of hashtags trending in response to the deadly blasts including: #prayforboston, #runforboston, #helpboston.
Information about a number of shelters set up at various assembly points for local runners, to get in contact with worried loved one, as well as a call for mental health practitioners – to provide relief in the wake of the disaster – by the Red Cross were publicised online.
In amongst the offers of clothes, food and transportation were the messages from those around the world who watched in awe at the relief effort that had organically sprung up online, sharing in the human sentiment and with many exclaiming that the efforts had helped to restore their faith in humanity.