There is a new superhero in town.
His name is Miles and he is a 5-year-old California boy who has been battling leukemia since he was a toddler. Miles and his parents teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a slew of volunteers including the San Francisco Police Department and the City of San Francisco to save Gotham City—er, San Francisco—on Friday.
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The Foundation elicited the help of over 11,000 Bay Area volunteers to make Miles’ dream of becoming Batman a reality. In the process, he touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people who followed the pint-sized caped crusader on Twitter.
This story of this wee survivor helps to illustrate some of the ways Twitter is becoming an integral part of real life, both online and off.
1. Following Breaking News
“BatKid Saves City” was today’s headline on a special edition of Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle, and thousands of people lined the streets of San Francisco to cheer on the superhero. But those who weren’t around to catch the news as it unfolded could follow along with Batkid’s escapades on Twitter.
2. Participating In A Local Community On A Global Level
While thousands of volunteers signed up to help Make-A-Wish with the event, even more joined the Make-A-Wish community online by following and supporting BatKid.
People in San Francisco paused for a moment, either leaving their offices to join the onlookers, or hopping on Twitter to join in themselves. Stories of BatKid (using Twitter and Vine to tell the story) were in newspapers, websites, and blogs across the world. BatKid was hard to miss.
The city of San Francisco unified behind a common cause today: making Miles’ dreams come true. But this would-be Gotham wasn't alone. It had the help of multitude of people on Twitter cheering the boy along. For a moment, we were all part of the #SFBatKid community.
3. Tracking Trends And Conversation
It was the hashtag heard around the world: #SFBatKid. It was being tweeted along with photos of BatKid saving a woman tied up on the train tracks, capturing the Riddler as he attempted to rob a bank, and zooming around town in his Batmobile.
Garnering upwards of 50,000 tweets per hour, BatKid was one of the most popular topics on Twitter this Friday.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Miles’ story, I suggest you do. Through Twitter, people around the world were able to share in a small part of his journey.
Miles finished his final round of chemotherapy this June and is currently in remission.
Update: President Obama chimed in to congratulate Miles from the White House: