The Paris attack is a classic example, and I am sure an overly used example to how social media can assist disaster response worldwide.
On Friday, November 13th , a concert hall, stadium, and restaurant in Paris were attacked by suicide bombers and gunmen; the attack left 130 people dead, and many wounded. Instantaneously, millions of people around the world took to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to send their condolences, angered thoughts, and prayers to the victims of the Paris terrorist attack. I was currently in New Zealand at the time and within minutes of the attack happening, social media sights had already circulated the news. The news saw people change their profile pictures to the colours of the French flag to show support for the country in despair, share posts from victims that were near or caught in the attack, and circulate the news updates that were being covered by news stations across the world to millions of followers.
( An example of people’s support on social media #prayforparis)
The convenience and efficiency that social media provided within minutes of the attack was overwhelming; the circulation of news saw people take to their phones to spread awareness to friends and family, warning them of the danger and destruction that had occurred. These messages went viral and reached millions of people, which meant that this audience encouraged action within their countries and governments to send help and support to the terror struck country.
A hazard to the effects of broadcasting disaster relief on social media is that if anyone is caught up in the attack or action, they sometimes endanger their own lives to get a Tweet, a good Snapchat story, or Instagram picture. People in today’s society I feel are so encapsulated in promoting posts that will receive mass amounts of attention that they risk their life in order to do so. For example, @Pierre75010 took to Twitter to inform users that there was a gunman walking towards the restaurant he was sat at, and instead of running instinctively from the attacker he took an image, warning his fellow friends.
***Updates are great…. Until you are the one injured, hurt or killed, and being updated about. I think overall social media acts as a great 911 to the rest of the world in encouraging support, and disaster relief quickly. It alerts a large demographic in minimal time, and creates an ongoing support system, which benefits the targeted country.