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I saw it all go down. Information poured in— texts, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, Vines. Flipping betweens Google maps, my fervently refreshed twitter feed, and the Boston police scanner, I felt as if I had some role in the events last Thursday night. My shadowed room housed all of the sights and sounds of another world. There’s a certain wonderful creepiness about occupying a type of hyperreality in which you can hear an address called out over the (public?) police scanner and zoom in on the house on Google maps before the officer can verify that he heard it correctly. It’s more intimate than watching OJ careen down the freeway. In this moment in which there hardly exists an intermediary, what are the media? Up all night, thousands of people wanted the raw information from twitter and the scanner. How have mass media been replaced by grassroots, crowdsourced media? With an undeniable desire for immediacy, why wait for the AP to craft their tweet when there are dozens of #Watertown residents posting geo-tagged tweets like, “holy shit! explosion in the street!”? In a country in which even the largest media conglomerates err regularly, why not turn away from traditional sources? Holed up in their homes, people wanted to come together and communicate, valuing amplification over verification. But where’s the division of private and public in this moment? When everyone is watching, documenting, tagging and tweeting, how is this citizen surveillance any different than governmental surveillance or a surveillance state? What’s the difference between a crowd of iPhones surveying a street and a nest of surveillance cameras on every corner? In this sea of eyes one can only hide in the present. Even with an extensive police presence and FBI watchlists, surveillance did not stop the bombings last week in Boston. Images only afforded law enforcement a reactionary plan of action. When surveillance does not stop an attack, perhaps we should rethink what we are surveying rather than simply amplifying surveillance and hysteria? What does it mean to survey when what’s sought after is not observable, when unobservable data (web history, phone calls, emails, YouTube uploads) provides the clearest picture. New media surveillance allowed for my late-night ‘action-viewing’ but it may also hold the most useful information on the two bombers. “There are cameras and social media everywhere. There is nowhere to hide! Though popular participation in the investigation was likely largely exaggerated, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, perhaps granting the public some sense of democratic engagement and purpose proves important. Can hype fend off hysteria? The activity on sites like Reddit showcases how the immediacy of misinformation can have real effects and can create a sort of misguided human flesh search engine. The crowdsourced investigation highlighted the power of information and its often-prevailing twin, misinformation.