We are always told that social media is hindering teenagers, not only teenagers – but the public. They seem to think that we have our heads down looking at Facebook and texting, when they are more than likely, checking updates on the news or emailing.
In situations like, the attacks in Paris (both yesterday and earlier in February) social media can consistently be a life saving tool that, not only spreads awareness to the public – but helps so much of the public.
In many ways, social media has been an impact on everyones lives. If you take a look to your side, most probably you will have a phone or a tablet – which connects you to people and the public all over the world. With this, you have access to news reports, breaking news, Twitter, Facebook etc. which are all tools that connect us to the world. They consistently provide us with updates, and as much as people state that we rely on them too much – perhaps this is only something that makes us more aware and less ignorant.
This morning, I was woken up by the notifications of a chosen news app on my phone – outlining the attacks in Paris – this was my first notification – rather than the seemingly stereotypical idea of a text message from my best friends.
Logging onto Facebook, my timeline was full of status’ wishing well and safety to those in Paris. Friends and families were logging themselves “safe” with a pinning app on Facebook. Additionally, many were changing their profile pictures with the French flag in the background showing their solidarity with France and their respect to those who have lost their lives.
On Twitter, tweets from both celebrities and the average public sent their views and best wishes around the world – not only to Paris, but Lebanon additionally and to those who suffer from attacks as a daily routine. Hashtags alike, “#PrayforParis”, “#PeaceforParis” led the forefront of Twitter, with tweets from those in Paris including, “#PorteOuverte” – this is a idea that means that those who could not get home in Paris could stay at someones overnight and could be safe. Leading the saving of lives across Paris.
So, using the social media that we all have. I decided to ask my friends and the public about how they think that social media has helped both those in serious incidents and in general.
“I think social media has a limited impact on helping to stop things like this happening, but it’s so important and so heartwarming to see the level of compassion on social media with people offering up their homes as safe places last night in Paris and then just in general people sending out messages of love and solidarity.
“I think at times like this it’s important to remember to show compassion and love rather than just get angry at the world. I’ve seen so many statuses today like “what is humanity when things like this happen”, humanity is when people all round the world are taking to Twitter to send a thought to those who are hurting.” – Lucy Harbron
“Today it is evident that social media can help in times of crisis. For example, the hashtag ‘PorteOuverte’ helped Parisians find a safe place to stay in their city during the Paris attacks, without social media the spread of information would be nowhere near as fast, and it ensures that a number of lives are saved.” – Madeline Lynch
“Well I think that social media can definitely help in terms of an immediate response to an attack such as that, as shown with the hashtag #PorteOuverte which enabled people to seek homes for shelter if they were stranded. And yes it does help people spread their views on an attack such as that. Whether those be the more sympathetic views or the more self-centred views.” – Gregory Milik
“It is paramount that we whole heartedly condemn the inhuman taking of innocent lives and act accordingly to thoroughly deal with any further threats that are posed in near and far future. However the way in which governments and ourselves as individuals should deal with the threat of terrorism should be done in a sensitive and mature way, let’s not fight fire with fire.
“Terrorism has no religion, and the teachings of Islam is not represented by the manipulations of a tiny extremist minority. Responses to the barbaric events that occurred last night should not incite a response of hatred, intolerance or islamophobic abuse.
Let’s all #prayforparis and reflect on the innocent lives that have been taken, and the 1000’s of family members of friends that have been affected by their deaths. Let’s March on the streets and shout loud and proud that we’ve had enough of terrorism and we want action from our governments. But let’s not incite hatred whilst we do so, let’s leave religion and race out of it, because it’s simply not relevant.” – Oliver Milward
Those who were affected at the forefront in Paris stated:
“Porte ouverte helped a lot as did the marked safe thing on Facebook. I go to uni here (university of London institute in Paris) my biggest concerns were my friends at the uni and also French people who I’ve met along the way so it was just nice getting a notification that they marked themselves safe rather than having to go through each person, it just saves time so that you can see if there are people who aren’t safe!” – Angelique Ajala
We wish all of Paris, and countries around the world that are consistently battling a war which is tearing love, safety and families apart. Stay safe and never be afraid.