This week has been a difficult one for not just the UK, but for many other countries that have been subjected to heartless attacks on innocent people. The UK has seen horrific events in Manchester that I really don’t think I have the words to describe. But perhaps more importantly, I’ve seen people group together in the face of disaster. I’ve seen kindness and strength in those helping, and I’ve seen social media take on a whole new role of offering a platform for people to reach out to those in need.
Social media gets a lot of bad press. Facebook is currently under fire for not tackling ‘fake news’, which was highlighted first as a political issue during the US presidential campaigns earlier in the year. We’re now seeing a similar problem here in the UK with unsupported stories gathering traction on social media regarding Jeremy Corby and Theresa May. Understandably, this is hugely frustrating, and puts a negative spin on social media and what it can be used for.
However, what this does demonstrate is just how powerful social media can be, and what if this power could be harnessed to achieve good things, rather than controversy? Working in a digital marketing agency, I understand how social media can have the power to make or break a company. Compared to PPC, it can be difficult to measure, as we can’t directly track conversions, and therefore it’s easy for it to be overlooked. But if I’ve learnt anything it’s that social media shouldn’t be underestimated.
The power of social media was demonstrated earlier this week, in relation to the terrible attack in Manchester. People took to Twitter to search for their friends and family, and were met with incredible support and love from the online community. It’s been an online platform people have turned to for answers. It’s been somewhere to offer help - and accept help, for that matter. It’s been a powerful force that’s demonstrated unity and strength all over the world.
The hashtag #RoomForManchester surfaced on Monday night and began trending on Twitter. This hashtag was used by people across Manchester offering food, drink and accommodation - anything to support those in need who may have been lost, scared or stranded in the wake of the attack. We saw corporations such as the Holiday Inn and Premier Inn taking in children who had been separated from family and friends, using social media to let people know they are safe.
I'm 10 mins away from the arena and if anyone needs food drinks or charge your phone or a sofa or anything get in touch #roomformanchester
— Eamon (@eamonjohngannon) May 23, 2017
Spare bed, 2 sofas, tea & chargers for anyone stuck in Manchester tonight. Outside centre but can pick up/drive home #roomformanchester
— Rachael Mannion (@rachmannion89) May 22, 2017
I live 5 mins from the Manchester Arena. I have sofa bed, food/drink and phone chargers if anyone needs any help #roomformanchester
— Nick Q (@QHNick) May 23, 2017
Since the attack, we’ve seen social media become a platform of support and sharing. It’s been a way for people to reach out and connect with each other. It’s been a source of information and demonstrated unity.
If this doesn’t demonstrate the goodness in people, I’m not sure what does.
And as for social media, I have a new-found respect for what it can achieve.
My heart goes out to everyone who was affected in Monday’s attack. I have no more words.