The Paris terrorist attacks were horrible. Because of social media, people all over the world united in compassion and empathy. Of course everyone didn’t react with a united and loving attitude.
There was the talk of Muslim extremists that resulted in a public backlash. Unfortunately, this was not necessarily beneficial to the French Muslims, according to Huffington Post, making them more vulnerable to being recruited into the groups that are blamed for actions like this.
There was fear of another terrorist attack, and even talk that the terrorists had used a form of social media on the PlayStation 4 to plan the attacks.
Fortunately, the majority of the reaction, however, was based on hope and love. That is a testament to the goodwill and positive thoughts of the human spirit, no matter what country or culture.
The hashtag #PorteOuverte (meaning “open door” in English) was a beautiful example of people reaching out to help others using social media. People in surrounding areas opened their doors to strangers stranded after the attacks. Americans also opened their doors to Parisians stranded here after France closed its border. Social media played a part in that, too, providing the #strandedinUS hashtag to help gather loved ones and those in need.
Meet The Man Behind The Hashtag Parisians Used To Find Shelter https://t.co/vaikNreXxp
— Deborah (@socialwebcafe) November 25, 2015
People also took to Facebook and Twitter to search for loved ones.
Social media was the first to report what was happening and in what locations. Perhaps, by using social media, there were opportunities to keep others out of harms way by warning them about the violence.
According to BBC.com, the first tweet was posted at 10:19 (local time?) by German Twitter user Johannes Muller.
@DFB_Team Explosion im Stade de France grade? Wieder eine Bombe oder war das harmlos? Explosiv heute hier in Frankreich und im Stadion.
— Johannes Müller (@mueller_racing) November 13, 2015
Explosion at the Stade de France-grade? Again a bomb or was harmless? Explosive today here in France and in the stadium.
For a great timeline of events on that date (another way that the Internet, by way of blogging and articles, helps deliver the news globally), refer to this site.
The tweets and Facebook posts continued to pour in, giving us a legacy of what people felt and thought in those first moments. This makes it much more personal to the rest of the world, which may be there was such a worldwide response to the attack.
— Dr. Josie Ahlquist (@josieahlquist) November 17, 2015
After the attack, many American celebrities took to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share their sympathy and offer prayers. According to Time.com, Hillary Clinton tweeted “The reports from Paris are harrowing. Praying for the city and families of the victims. -H” Rachel Zoe put it very well when she said “My heart breaks for Paris..stay safe and pray for peace..this has to end #prayforparis #stophatred #stopwar” IFRC that is the International Federation of the Red Cross is also very connected to social media. Many people found ways to help and donate them after the attacks.
Social Media affects our lives in so many ways. When you see how helpful it is in times of crisis, it can give you a new perspective. Social media isn’t just for your cat videos and birthday pictures. Through its ability to connect when a crisis arises, it connects us all.