I write this post with a heavy heart, mourning the unfathomable loss of life in Paris last night. Once I received the first AP alert on my phone, I turned to Twitter to try and understand what horrific events were unfolding in the City of Light. Social media can be helpful and harmful during senseless tragedies like these, and yesterday was no different.
Facebook Safety Check
Safety Check, a Facebook notification feature launched in 2014 for disasters and crises, was activated last night for Parisians to mark their safety during the terror attacks. I received a notification after my friend in Paris checked in, much to my relief.
Twitter users in Paris started the hashtag #PorteOuverte, which translates to Open Door, to welcome anyone into their homes for shelter. The trending hashtag was a testament to the many helpers of the world.
Social media tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck are helpful for marketers to easily schedule posts to send out automatically, but these services can get brands in trouble during times of crisis. Businesses with scheduled promotional tweets could appear insensitive and receive backlash from followers, so it’s important to closely monitor the online conversation.
Social media can be an outlet for messages of hope, solidarity, and compassion to be disseminated worldwide. It can also be home to widespread exploitation and misinformation. During this time of profound sadness, my thoughts are with those affected by the attacks.
Paris, je t’aime.