The power of social media was revealed when Redditors rallied to provide aid to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Overnight, heroes were recognized and thousands donated everything from pizzas to places to take a hot shower or just recharge a cellphone.
Food, shelter, transportation donations pour in
By early on the evening of April 15, a post by user superdude4agze's had risen close to the top of the subreddit "inthenews." The post provided essential resources offered by Redditors, including offers of places to stay, rides, food and hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles for those who needed to leave Boston and to victims' family members who needed a flight into the city.
Reddit was uniquely prepared to get food out to those in need. Through its subreddit "Random Acts of Pizza," where users can send each other pizzas just to be nice, rescue workers and those who had been hospitalized were the beneficiaries of Redditor generosity . Restaurant Anytime Pizza is leading the effort.
"Spoke with an Anytime Pizza employee (Perry) this morning. They pulled in their entire staff last night to cook and deliver pizzas," Redditor iamnotevenperturb, who moderates the pizza subreddit, reported. "You'll be happy to know, though, that they were getting police escorted around and were working straight through the night."
Heroes of Reddit
Perry, the pizza man of Anytime Pizza, is poised to become a Reddit hero . He has said that regardless of donations, he will continue to deliver pizzas. This afternoon he will be sending them to shelters and fire stations.
"He could just post "Hi, I'm Perry" and provide proof and we would all probably piss ourselves," Redditor anotherguy2 posted, referring to another popular Reddit feature called IAMA, in which people come on Reddit to answer questions. Past participants include President Barack Obama and Bill Gates.
Today (April 16), the man who used a belt as a tourniquet for a victim whose leg had been blown off by the second bomb hosted an "IAMA" and has invited readers to "Ask Me Anything" — AMA in Reddit shorthand. [See also: How to Host Your Own Ask Me Anything on Reddit ]
The generosity of Redditors has made an impact and the effort continues. A Redditor wrote, "This is such a wonderful thing you are all doing for those affected. I've done all I can from here in FL, but this is actually bringing tears to my eyes to see how many people are doing so much!!"