whoop de doo and what I learned from the Boston #manhunt

The weather in Sydney last Saturday was atrocious so I chose to bunker down and work. I was immediately drawn to the unfolding drama in Boston as the second suspect was being tracked down.

I started following @Boston_Police and the hashtag #manhunt along with my normal Twitter stream, where many American tweeps were also following the story.

It wasn’t long before people who lived in the area located the boat in the backyard via the web and published pictures via Twitter. I followed Jeremiah Owyang’s tweet to a web link where you could listen to the real-time conversation via the police scanner. It was surreal… listening to the police talk about the fact that they were being listened to and discussing the need to go off air to another channel.

‘Can we code this ? No Sir, we can’t ….’


Given all that could go wrong….would the suspect be taken alive ? are there more explosive devices? ..the tension was palpable…it was an amazing experience to be watching and listening in real time.

Every other news story that day was an anticlimax..it was over and the people of Boston celebrated with a collective sigh of relief.

So what did I learn?

1. It’s official – traditional news channels no longer break news

And it’s not just Twitter, the web is the major news platform. Think about the live streaming from the police scanner.

Ustream was created six years ago to help bridge the gap between the physical and virtual live experience, and we take pride in our ability to connect people to the things they value most.  We highly value Internet freedom, and we’ve seen impactful citizen journalists utilize our platform throughout the years.  Yesterday’s events were quite the validation of how things have quickly evolved — consumers crave instant gratification and social media has given them access and insight unlike ever before.’

2. A danger with social is that facts can get lost and misinformation can flourish

For some time the wrong people were being named  as Boston terror suspects, complete with photographs and bios.

When the right suspects were eventually identified they were incorrectly linked to a mosque that had nothing to do with them.

The need to wait for official confirmation is paramount. Trial by the media ..be it social or any other kind, should never be an option.

The possible scenarios resulting from mistaken identity and false accusations are too scary to contemplate.

3. I used to worry about surveillance cameras and privacy…not any more

‘ The fact is that surveillance cameras helped the FBI solve this complicated crime and allowed the city of Boston to live in peace’


As the drama was unfolding on Twitter it became painfully obvious just who had automated their tweets and wasn’t paying attention. Don’t get me wrong I start most mornings with a review of my ‘information stream’ and I’ll schedule tweets for the day via Hootsuite…difference is that I remain tuned to what’s happening throughout the day.

If a crisis is breaking, especially in your own country, you should guess that it will dominate the conversation and so be sure adjust your social media management accordingly.

Don’t try and sell anyone, anything, in the middle of a crisis…seems obvious.

5. Americans and their gun laws are just plain crazy

Yet again I’m gobsmacked by the American attitude towards gun ownership. What are 26 and 19 year old students doing with an ‘arsenal’ of automatic weapons? This comes right on the back of the recent Senate decision …what will it take ?

‘The US Senate blocked bipartisan legislation aimed at tightening restrictions on the sale of firearms, a huge defeat for President Barack Obama and a rejection of personal pleas by families of the victims of last winter’s mass elementary school shooting in Connecticut.’

Obama accused the powerful gun lobby in the United States of “willfully”lying in order to doom the measure.’

To add some satire to this otherwise bleak story, if you haven’t already done so.. watch Daily Show contributor John Oliver’s trip Down Under.

…. IMHO the best thing John Howard ever did!   (vid link)

whoop de doo !

By | 2015-11-03T07:26:58+00:00 April 22nd, 2013|Social Media, Technology|Comments Off on whoop de doo and what I learned from the Boston #manhunt