Twitter Through Times of Tragedy

Social media emerges as a vehicle for love and support during natural disasters.


(The Root) — Let’s face it: Twitter isn’t always the nicest place. People bash celebrities, fans of celebrities attack people who bash celebrities, and everyone fights about politics and religion. But while it is true that you’ll always have your trolls, the good consistently seems to outweigh the bad on Twitter during times of national tragedy.

Since the news broke about deadly tornadoes devastating the town of Moore, Okla., on Monday, there has been an outpouring of concern for those affected. As Twitter continues to break news about the disaster, it’s also taking care to send uplifting messages. And users are making sure that folks know how to help relief efforts from the comfort of their own homes.

Social media makes it possible to help keep hope alive during times of hardship. Rather than sitting and watching endless newsreels of ruin, orphaned puppies and mangled lives, users trend hope, resilience and support. Uplifting stories go viral as CNN gives live updates of death tolls. Inspiring photos and Vine videos are circulated to balance out the images of people in mourning. Celebrities tweet their condolences (and occasionally donate $1 million to help relief efforts), and their fans follow suit.

The simple act of uploading a simple picture urging people to pray can soon turn into a tidal wave of positivity thanks to the ease of sharing media online. For those who believe in the power of positive thinking, social media becomes a hefty weapon.

The online rallying cry of support in the aftermath of the tornadoes has been #PrayforOklahoma, with users sharing inspiring pictures bearing the hashtag. Here’s a sampling of some of those pictures: