Apr 10 8:21 PM

Harvard report explores Boston police Twitter use during marathon bombings

View of the back side of the finish line at the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013
JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images


As Boston prepares for the one-year anniversary of the 2013 marathon bombings that ripped through the city's soul but never defeated it, a new report by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government concluded that the use of Twitter by the Boston Police Department (BPD) during last year's tragedy "demonstrated the level of trust and interaction that a department and a community can attain online."

The 24-page paper, part of the school's "New Perspectives in Policing" series, relived BPD's social media communication plan as it responded to the April 15 news of two bombs exploding near the marathon's finish line. The attack led to four deaths, over 250 injuries and a city going into virtual lockdown on April 19 while police searched for alleged bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"BPD successfully used Twitter to keep the public informed about the status of the investigation, to calm nerves and request assistance, to correct mistaken information reported by the press, and to ask for public restraint in the tweeting of information from police scanners," the report's introduction read.

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