Every now and then, an event crops up in the news that captures the attention of news junkies around the globe. Sadly, more often than not, those events are the kind that horror movies are made of.

On Monday, news of the Boston Marathon bombings was one of those events. I was in good company on Twitter and online news sources watching the aftermath unfold and listening to and reading the information surrounding the explosions as it surfaced, nearly in real time.

In no time, videos of the explosions’ plumes billowing into the sky between the historic brownstones morphed into a scene of utter chaos and confusion as people attempted to make sense of what had happened. Then, moments later, coverage showed the deserted blood-stained sidewalk where eager spectators had stood, cheering on runners as they crossed the finish line, unaware of the destruction that would plague them seconds later.

In the aftermath of the blasts, it became clear to me that the incessant deluge of news and social media have a profound effect on the way news works.

In this case, our 24-hour news world worked instantaneously, and awe-inspiringly thoroughly.

The argument that social media is an ironically named vortex for time management and conversational skills can and has been made. But on Monday, social media proved to be a very valuable tool in connecting people around the globe and keeping them engaged with a story as it unfolds.

I couldn’t look away from the coverage, much to the chagrin of my deadline-driven story list and thus my Tuesday afternoon self. There weren’t many facts available at the time, but what was coming out was shocking, appalling, and soon became twisted.

Every minute, the number of people injured by the explosions climbed, from the original half-dozen to upwards of 100, and eventually three people were confirmed dead.

At first, some speculated a gas leak and resulting accidental explosion. Less than 24 hours later, it’s known that most of the damage was caused by shrapnel and ball bearings – expelled sickeningly, from homemade explosives intended to do a great deal of harm.

Maybe morbid curiosity played a part in capturing the attention of people around the world and keeping their eyes firmly stuck to the coverage. Certainly an act of depraved violence on an unsuspecting crowd during a time of charity and achievement is enough to make headlines, but for me, watching how it was handled – from the shaky cellphone videos of emergency workers running toward a quickly fleeing crowd of scared and bloodied people to the transparency of the official chief of police press conference a few hours later – was a fascinating lesson in technological and human connectivity.

In journalism, there’s a saying: nothing beats being there. And on Monday, everybody who was there at the finish line of the Boston Marathon helped stitch together the frayed patchwork of an event that’s still missing a few sutures.