It has now been two full weeks since the terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Like many of you, I have thoughts and feelings about what happened that night, and my heart undoubtedly goes out to those whose lives have been forever changed due to these horrific events. However, the purpose of this blog is to talk about the impact of the digital world, and the evening of these attacks was a major identifier of how our lives are permanently changing because of social media.
I was first alerted to what was happening while I was at the gym early Friday evening. I have the 'Globe and Mail' app that sends me push notifications regarding breaking news. It seemed that every 30 minutes I would get a new notification saying the death toll had risen and that more instances of terrorism were being reported.
Two people who are of great importance to me are in Paris right now. A good MBA friend of mine is currently on exchange and my cousin is completing her masters. They both marked themselves as “safe” that night. This is the first time in my entire life I have ever seen this and I truly believe innovation like this will forever change the world we live in.
The facebook Safety Check was first implemented in April 2015 following the Nepal earthquake. Zuckerberg calls it “a simple way to let family and friends know you’re okay. When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe”. I think the creation of the Safety Check is absolutely incredible. Most of us engage in at least one form of social media on a daily basis. We’re often made to feel that spending too much time on these networks is a bad thing, but what we often forget is that at the other end of that social network engagement is another person. When you strip away all the click baiting, advertisements and viral content, social media is about connection, relationships and communication. Facebook’s Safety Check allows us to quickly and clearly connect with each other during crisis, and at times like that, I can’t imagine anything more valuable than knowing a loved one is safe.
Connection is what matters, thank you Facebook for enabling that connection when it matters most.