In this paper we tell a version of the story of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. At first, two online groups gathered images, video and textual information concerning the bombing of the Boston Marathon and shared these with the FBI and amongst themselves. Secondly, these groups then created mechanisms to conduct their own investigation into the identities of the perpetrators. Finally, the larger national media followed the results of these online group investigations and reported these as fact to a national audience. We choose Twitter as our data repository and conducted quantitative analyses of tweets sent during the Boston Bombing. The implications for not incorporating public crowd participation within the standard operating procedures of emergency services may result in either a loss of public confidence in the slow-moving nature of official response to uncontrollable, dangerous and irresponsible public and media participation that exacerbates the negative effects of any disaster.
Recommended citation: Tapia, Andrea H., Nicolas J. LaLone, and Hyun-Woo Kim. “Run Amok: Group Crowd Participation in Identifying the Bomb and Bomber from the Boston Marathon Bombing.” Proceedings of the 11th International ISCRAM Conference. 2014.