I had a friend running in the Boston Marathon yesterday. Her husband was waiting for her at the finish. When I found out they were both safe, I felt relieved, but still numb.
Others in Boston weren't so fortunate as my friends. They lost so much in such a senseless, awful manner.
Many onlookers around the world went to the natural social place to express themselves: Twitter. Could they add anything? Doubtful. Could they make anything better? Probably not, other than to offer their respect for and solidarity with those who so needlessly suffered and those who risked their lives to help.
Most of all, though, there is little to say. Wonder who and why, certainly. There is nothing wrong with silent contemplation either.
One commercial organization -- for reasons that are baffling -- couldn't help but attempt to give itself a brand boost in the midst of the bombs and the blood.
Some might wonder about the impression of humanity offered by the food site Epicurious.
This morning, I heard word from the site Mr. Media Training that Epicurious decided to use its Twitter feed to offer food suggestions to the devastated Bostonians.
One tweet to its more than 385,000 followers read: "In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!"
The generous might imagine that this was a scheduled tweet. But it had been preceded with this: "Boston, our hearts are with you. Here's a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today."
Each tweet was accompanied with a link, presumably to a product or recipe.
Perhaps someone's eyes and ears had failed them. Or perhaps whole-grain cranberry scones have a secret, magical effect on your sense of self when you've lost a leg or a loved one.
What good could possibly have come from these tweets, for which the word "insensitive" is insufficiently sensitive?
The tweets were removed and replaced with an apology. It read: "We truly regret that our earlier food tweets seemed insensitive. Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Boston."
The idea that these tweets merely "seemed" insensitive suggests that the threshold of sensitivity at Epicurious enjoys an interesting height.
Now that tweet of apology has been removed and replaced with this: "Our food tweets this morning were, frankly, insensitive. Our deepest, sincere apologies."
Frankly, this seemed a little late. Too many people already had been informed that a bowl of breakfast energy was all they needed to conquer grief and horror.
More Technically Incorrect
A spokesperson for CondeNast, owner of Epicurious, told me this: "The Epicurious food tweets disseminated early this morning were an error in judgment and, obviously, should never have been issued. Epicurious communicated an apology via Twitter, sending its deepest, sincere apologies."
Some might suppose that an inexperienced, unwise (and, perhaps younger) person was at the keyboard of Epicurious' Twitter account. CondeNast told me it didn't comment on "internal employee matters."
There have been quite a few examples of companies that have tried to tweet their way onto world events. Kenneth Cole joshing that people in the Egyptian uprising were agitating to buy his shoes is a particularly moving incident.
It's difficult to imagine, though, someone believing that Epicurious' tweets could do anything but trouble. These weren't instant reactions. The tweets were sent almost 24 hours after the bombings.
On Twitter, reaction has not been polite. This, for example, from commentator Jure Klepic: "@epicurious Bit too late for that now right? But yes good play to call attention... Well you might get play on twitter but u lost dignity."
Offers of help or donations might be decent contributions after the events in Boston.
Offering the healing powers of whole-grain cranberry scones defies digestion.