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Will Crowdsourcing Help Catch the Boston Marathon Bomber?

Multiple People Injured After Explosions Near Finish Line at Boston Marathon
Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The omnipresence of smartphones and the ubiquity of social media outlets has lead a prominent media consultant to predict that the perpetrator of the Boston Marathon explosions may be caught by the internet.

Holland Cooke made an interesting prediction tonight on Twitter:

 

 

Cooke’s tweets got me thinking. I was blogging about the explosion within the first fifteen minutes of the event after the bulletin came into the newsroom. Twitter, YouTube, Vine, and Instagram were the first places I went to check for images and video from those who happened to be there.

Indeed it was the Twitter feeds from those who just happened to be in downtown Boston who provided some of the most riveting coverage from the scene.  Take this example of tweets from a marketing executive, @brm90, who happened to be in a building just above where the first bombing occurred.

With hundreds of witnesses in the vicinity all armed with cameras on their phones snapping shots and rolling video of the race action at the finish line, this may turn out to be one of the most amateur-documented crime scene in history.

As the dust was still settling on Boylston Street, an intriguing image popped up on Twitter.  Shared by the activist group Anonymous, the photo shows a man on the roof of a building directly above where the first bomb exploded. Who was the man: maintenance worker, media member, race official? Or someone with a sinister intent.

The Anonymous post was retweeted more than 22 thousand times as of Monday evening. This is the crowdsourced gumshoeing Cooke predicts.

It’s images like the man on the roof and others, still out in the ether, showing someone acting oddly or fleeing from the scene, that will be poured over by not only the FBI and law enforcement agencies but also the internet community.

Who knows, maybe your cellphone captured the image that brings justice to Boston and her victims. As Cooke hashtags, #SomeoneSawSomething.

Multiple People Injured After Explosions Near Finish Line at Boston Marathon
Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

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