People who’ve inspired me during the past 24 hours

I’ve spent over a decade being an active resident of the World Live Web.

During this period, there have been over a decade of natural and man-created tragedies. Yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombing was the most recent of these events that have come to serve as some form of communal inflection points in the evolution of internet-enabled digital media, channels and community.

We’ve all learned that people turn to such communal places as Twitter and Facebook during these tragic events. We all want to express our grief, sorrow or outrage. We want to learn anything we can about friends or loved ones. We want to help.

I’m not always successful, but I try to refrain from tweeting during such an event.  I don’t want to add to the noise when people are looking for information that may help them find out about someone they care about who is in the vicinity of the event.

However, I have two exceptions to this “no tweet” policy:

  1. When the event is taking place in the zipcode from which I’m tweeting.
  2. When someone I know or discover is providing some unique context to the event, whose insight I can relay to a larger audience.

As I said, I’m rarely successful with my “no tweet” policy. I nearly always tweet the concern I feel at the moment.

Click on photo for an interview with Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki about this instantly iconic photo of 78-year-old marathoner Bill Ilfrig and Boston police
Click on photo for an interview with Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki about this instantly iconic photo of 78-year-old marathoner Bill Ilfrig and Boston police.

During the past 24 hours, I’ve seen and heard a lot of amazing and inspiring things on the World Live Web. I can’t recall an event, short of an Olympics opening, that had so many people witnessing it with smart phone and video camera in hand.

I wanted to make note in this post of a couple of the most inspiring things I’ve encountered, despite their reaching instant event-related trend status, and it’s likely you’ve also seen them.

Both of them inspire me — and will for many years to come. (I love being inspired by people far older than myself, as it gives me hope that I can be like them when I reach that age.)

First, my newest hero: Bill Iffrig. He’s the man in the photo above, the iconic image that captures the confusion and dis-connect to the seconds right after the explosion. Bill is the 78-year-old runner who was knocked over by the explosion a few feet from the finish line. Bill is the 78-year-old runner who stood back up and made his way across the finish line.

The next man who inspired me yesterday passed away ten years ago at the age of 75. I had never heard this quote from Mr. Rogers, however. I will remember it for the rest of my life.:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

(I’m not sure how long this video will remain online, but it’s a video of Mr. Rogers sharing this thought.)