Social media a lifeline for Boston runners

2013-04-16 14:25

(Alex Trautwig, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Google Story
    Read and find out all about Inside the hottest business, media and technology success of our time Now R157.00
    buy now

Chicago – Far-flung family members, co-workers and friends frantically used social media, cellphones and even a “people finder” website on Monday to try to learn the fate of participants and spectators at the Boston Marathon, where three people were killed and dozens injured after a pair of bombs exploded near the finish line of one of the world's great races.

The search was made more difficult because heavy cellphone use caused slow and delayed service. In an age connected by everything digital, the hours after the blasts produced a tense silence.

At the race, 51-year-old Julie Jeske, of Bismarck, had finished about 15 minutes before the explosions and was about two blocks away when she heard two loud booms. She immediately tried to call her parents but could not place the call. A friend was able to post on Facebook that they were okay, but reaching her parents was another worry.

“I wasn't able to call and I felt so bad,” Jeske said.

“When I was finally able to reach them, my mom said she was just absolutely beside herself with fear.”

On the other side of the continent, in Seattle, Lisa Cliggett was waiting for any word from her brother and sister-in-law.

Mark Cliggett, 51, and his wife, Dr Janet Vogelzang, 54, have run several marathons together and always send their sons text messages after crossing the finishing line. On Monday, those messages didn't arrive and the couple could not be reached via cellphone.

Lisa Cliggett said she went to the marathon's website and tried to calculate where the couple should be based on their last locations and running speeds. She decided they should have already finished the race when the blasts hit.

“The question is do you loiter around the finish line?” she said. “And where was the bomb?”

Finally, about three hours after the blasts, the couple called their sons to tell they were unhurt. Matt Cliggett sent his sister a text that said, “We were about 91m from second explosion. Sad day.”

Google Person Finder

Google also stepped in to help family and friends of runners find their loved ones, setting up a site called Google Person Finder that allows users to enter the name of a person they're looking for or enter information about someone who was there. A few hours after the explosion, the site indicated it was tracking 3 600 records.

Mary Beth Aasen, of Shorewood, Wisconsin, and her husband were using an app to track their daughter Maggie's progress along the marathon route. They didn't realise anything was wrong until a worried friend texted Aasen and asked if Maggie was okay.

The app indicated that Maggie was still moving, a relief for her parents. Mary Beth Aasen tried in vain to call her daughter for about 30 minutes before Maggie called her.

“When I talked to her she was pretty upset,” Aasen said.

Kim Hauser, a substitute teacher in the Chicago area, did not know about the explosions until her students went home and she got a chance to look at her phone. There were messages from acquaintances asking, “'Is your brother OK?” She searched the news and it dawned on her why they were asking.

“I tried to call him immediately, but there was no cell service,” the Frankfort, Illinois, woman said. “I waited anxiously by the phone. I just felt horrible. I had a hard time holding myself together.”

Five minutes became 10, then 20 - finally, 45 minutes later she looked down to see a text from her brother, Thomas Wiora. He had crossed the finish line shortly before the explosion and was 110m away when it went off. But he was fine.

“I was relieved,” she said. “But the whole thing was so heartbreaking.”

Mary Butler, of Oklahoma City, hadn't been able to reach her husband, Jason, who was running with his son, brother and other family members. But she said he'd posted on Facebook that he and the others were okay.

“That's all I know about it,” Mary Butler said, adding she'd been trying to call since she'd first heard of the explosions. “I'm just waiting - keep trying to call.”

She declined to talk further so that she could keep her phone line open.
Read more on:    google  |  us  |  social networks  |  boston explosions
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 18:07 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect delays

Kuils River 18:05 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

B2B Sales Manager

Cape Town
Initiate International
R20 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Compliant Officer

Cape Winelands
Vine Recruitment
R10 000 - R80 000 Per Month

Sales Consultant: Cartons & Paper Bags

Western Cape
Wayermann Sales Recruitment
R240 000 - R432 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.