Since we use social media more and more everyday, it has found ways to affect all aspects of our lives. Today, social media even serves as a news source where we can find out about major events happening across the world. The most recent example is the incident in the naval yard in Washington, D.C., which instantly began trending across major social networks. Twitter is now used so commonly as a constant news stream to keep the rest of the world up to date.
Tragedies are very tough to deal with, but not knowing any information about an incident can be even more difficult. I was at Virginia Tech on April 16th 2007, and while I wasnt in one of the buildings where the shooting took place, I was on campus. What helped comfort a lot of my loved ones that day was the fact that they knew I was alright. Although I was unable to call or text anyone because there was no cell phone service, I was able to put a Facebook post out saying I was safe.
Twitter wasnt widely used during the Virginia Tech massacre six years ago, but these days it can provide a constant stream of information about an event. If you just search for a few hashtags, you can find out so much from many different people. This was especially convenient with the naval yard shooting in Washington, D.C. because most people probably were not watching the news when it occurred. During the workday, it is difficult to get access to a T.V.; but, social media was readily accessible on peoples phones and computers, so they instantly were up-to-date with what was occurring. News sources, people near the incident, and even family members in the area were tweeting updates on how they were doing or what they saw firsthand to give the world a better picture about what was going on. This not only helped the world gain a better understanding, it also helped those in neighboring areas get to a safe place and prepare themselves.
We never want nor anticipate horrific tragedies like the Virginia Tech massacre or Naval Yard shooting to occur, but at least social media can be used as a tool to help people in these situations. Social media can give us one more tool to deal with these delicate crises and at least provide a little bit of comfort.
By: Phillip Morgan