How Social Media Helps Heal the Pain of Tragedy - #HumboldtStrong

Late Friday April 6, 2018 afternoon, I was reading my twitter feed when I saw a post from a news outlet that advised the Humboldt Broncos team bus was involved in a serious crash in rural Saskatchewan.  Like many others, I used social media as my primary source of information as the details of the accident unfolded.

This tragedy has united our country in grief.  We are all in shock and our hearts are broken for the players, coaches, victims, emergency workers, families and communities affected by this horrific accident.  For many we turned to social media to express our sadness and support on social media.  The tributes and condolences were shared from all over the world and created a bond that shared grief, love and hope.  

We have found a public way to share our sadness and sorrow, and to offer gestures of condolences.

Social media has allowed us to learn more about the victims and survivors of the accident.  Their stories circulate through photos and videos online like this A photo showing three of the survivors lying in their hospital beds holding hands was shared thousands of times on social media.  

Some of the survivors of the accident are using social media to share their recovery stories and to thank people for their support and encouragement. Earlier today, the official @HumboldtBroncos Twitter account tweeted:

"We see you. We hear you.  We love you. We are all #HumboldtStrong"
 

Since the accident, we have seen people share their tributes online using hashtags such as #HumboldtStrong, #SticksoutforHumboldt, #JerseysforHumboldt, #PrayersforHumboldt have take over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the hundreds of thousands.  

People have shared their photos of themselves wearing sports jerseys to remember the Humboldt Broncos players and staff. There are pictures from schools, workplaces, little kids, families, seniors, people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. There are videos at sporting events and hockey games with the crowd chanting in unison, "Let's Go Broncos" and there are images of hockey sticks with green bows left on porches across our country and around the world.  These may seem like small gestures, but collectively it is POWERFUL to see.

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Social media has created a way to organize help too, including:

- raising funds like the GoFundMe account which has now surpassed 10 million and continues to grow.

- Organ donation and blood donation saw a huge increase of over 500% - many social media users say the donation on Humboldt Broncos defensemen Logan Boulet's organs inspired them to become donors.

The role of social media during tragic events has become vital to keep people informed and connected during tragic events like these.  Whether the incidents took place at the Boston Marathon, the Paris bombing, the Las Vegas Shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting or like this accident in rural Saskatchewan, the world is using social media to connect online to try grieve and move forward collectively.

I believe social media will be critical to help support and inspire the survivors of this tragic accident in the future too. Use social media as a positive force to help you connect with others. Taking small actions can help us move forward in times of tragedy - share how you are touched by the stories on our Facebook page , register as an organ donor, donate blood or make a donation to the GoFundMe Campaign