A tragedy has occurred in Paris. Innocent people have had their lives cut tragically short by an organised group of people seeking to strike fear and rage into the hearts of the world. Around the world, people are waking up to see once more that the world can be a horrible, cruel, unpredictable place. But it can also be a place filled with love, compassion, and generosity. And social media has the power to control which of these two sentiments dominate the global mentality.
Right now, people are seeing the terrible news for the first time. #PrayForParis is everywhere. The world is in mourning for innocents killed in a city that many people have never seen with their own two eyes. Messages of strength, sadness, and solidarity flow from everywhere. Soon, however, that will change.
The global heartbreak will turn to global outrage and fear. As the ever-wise Yoda once said:
“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
The world will want to punish those responsible for the attack. To do unto them as they have done unto those in Paris. This is precisely what they want, and what the world must not do.
Terrorists strive to strike fear and, well, terror into the world with calculated, horrific attacks on an unsuspecting populace. They want to sink the world into a guerrila war, with the powers that be seeking to kill every last one of them where they hide. Which is why we mustn’t.
Who has the power to control how the world responds to this latest attack? The media. But here is an important message, from Amanda Palmer, a master of the Internet culture: We are the media. Social media has the power to shape how the world feels. If enough people continue to speak out expressing their sorrow and messages of strength for the families of those innocents in Paris, and not demanding retribution, that is what the mainstream media will express as well. That is what the world will feel.
So, take the power of the media into your own hands. You can play your part in shaping the world’s feelings. Think about what you share on your social media. Do not succumb to hatred. #PrayForParis.