Hashtags bring positivity, hope during crisis

In times of crisis, the first medium people often turn to for information is Facebook or Twitter to acquire the most current information on the matter.

A hashtag is curated and a collection of relevant content is assembled to create a digital narrative for the rest of the world to glean information.

It is not uncommon to see some people injecting their own opinion into the matter, whether or not they are fully informed on the news event.

The most current example, of course, is the attacks in Paris, which amassed one of the largest followings on social media in recent history, with many posting their prayer intentions and concerns for the affected peoples within the hour of the
breaking news.

Among the “Pray for” hashtags that spawned a whole other debate on international news awareness was the diamond in the rough that helped provide a safe haven for those in Paris who were lost in the chaos.

“#PorteOuverte,” meaning “open door,” was used by Parisians to signal their residence was safe for those who needed a place to stay during the attacks.

After direct messaging each other and exchanging an address, many people were able to find unity in a time of crisis that seemed to be the only event going on in the world.

With the help of free taxi rides from the city’s service, a time of debate for the rest of the world became a time of unconditional support for fellow residents in need.

When the dust settled and the attacks were subdued, the following days gave way to more Parisian support because of the hashtag’s continuation.

Many people used the tag internationally to offer a place to stay for people unable to return to France because of the flights being canceled to and from airports across the country.

In the following days, among the arguments dealing with terrorism was “#PorteOuverte” providing a safe haven not only physically, but digitally, for people to find refuge.

Although Facebook and Twitter have become platforms for opinionated arguments, there is still the potential to be something good and worth-while for those in need to find consolation.

About Randy Plavajka

Online Managing Editor

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