The Paris Attacks: How the Updates on Social Media Raised Awareness

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Article by Nicole Tremblay | esPResso Committee Member

On Friday, Nov. 13, news of the tragic terror attacks in Paris spread all around the world, primarily on social media where most people heard about the event. There were millions of posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook where eyewitnesses told their stories and kept followers updated on what they saw. Trending topics quickly rose all over the world with hashtags such as #PrayForParis, #NotAfraid and #PorteOuverte- which served to let stranded citizens know there was someone willing to take them in.

The difference between obtaining the updates from a broadcaster and reading social media updates is that the story kept unfolding right before viewers’ eyes. It was very clear to see the emotional distress of everyone experiencing the attacks. The social media posts kept a real-time update on the events as they were happening.

In many ways, the social media alerts were a strong way of keeping those not in Paris informed of the events; however, there are some arguments made that say social media only aggravated the situation by raising more problems. There were also some discrepancies in the information posted, as not all Twitter accounts are trusted news sources. There were other rumors and suspects that were brought up only through controversial social media posts.

When taken as just updates from eyewitnesses and a way to send support and condolences, social media played a huge part in uniting the world with Paris. It let the people in the city know that everyone in the world was supporting them.

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