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Brussels terrorist attacks shows why social media is so important for emergencies
Most of the time, Twitter and Facebook are just for news, conversation or photo sharing. Until something terrible happens. - photo by Chandra Johnson
Much of the time, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook seem like modern luxuries for news, conversation or photo sharing.

Until something terrible happens that highlights how useful and indispensable social media can be, like the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels that left at least 31 dead.

Aside from showing solidarity in the wake of the attacks, social media has been critically important for survivors to spread the word about the violence and let loved ones know they're all right.

As the phone networks in and around Brussels became saturated, officials even recommended using social media apps to communicate with loved ones. The Washington Post reminded people trying to reach out about Facebook's Safety Check feature, which allows users to quickly check in and let everyone know they're safe.

The feature was first introduced after the attacks on Paris last year when it came in handy for 4.1 million people in the first 24 hours.

Similarly, apps like Yo! have worked to protect people living in Gaza and Israel of incoming attacks reminding even skeptics that, when the chips are down, social media has a valuable role to play.
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