COM0015 – Blog Post #4 – Unexpected Needs

When starting this five-course program, I was interested in learning how to communicate in this virtual space, including what the messages should look like and more importantly how to get people to read them.

What I have come to learn is while the methods may be a bit different from the forms of communication we are more commonly used to using, for the most part the way we communicate in social media isn’t. It is about participating in conversations by both ‘speaking’ and listening, and about engaging audiences by learning about what they are interested in and being a resource to them.

During the course of this program, I read about a number of different ways to use social media – some successful, others not so much, but the most unexpected use came in the form of a real life application during the Paris attacks.

Facebook’s Safety Check helps people in disaster situations let their friends know they are safe and allows people to check on the safety of others. More specifically used during the time of the Paris attacks, the Twitter hashtag #PorteOuverte  let people know of safe spaces where they could take refuge and get of harm’s way during the uncertain hours surrounding the attacks.



A CBC report notes that over 4 million people made use of the Facebook feature to reach family and friends during the 24 hours following the crisis to let them know they were safe.

While it is never nice to think about the situations that make these tools necessary, it is good to know they are there if we need them.  I will be interested to see how social media continues to evolve and to shape the way we interact, what about you?

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