Social media, and Twitter in particular, has been a blur of comment about the awful events in Paris last week. People have been sharing live images of the police chase, expressing sympathy with the victims and their families, and sharing links to articles attempting to explain what happened.
I saw someone imply that this is idle chit chat by resurrecting a cartoon of a building full of people on their phones tweeting expressions of sympathy to someone outside on the street who is asking for help.
But is this fair? Is this all we are doing? Sure, a single tweet with the #jesuischarlie hashtag isn't going to change the world or alleviate the suffering of those involved. But it is bringing us closer to events and closer to each other. We are cutting out the news media middle men telling us what to think. We are working out collectively what the events mean, how we feel about them, how we might react.
I have read some thoughtful and powerful articles that have helped me begin to understand what has happened and that will affect my future decisions about people and life. They have changed my assumptions and therefore my attitude to the world around me. If and when I get the opportunity to take action they will affect the action I take.
Isn't this how change happens? Isn't the internet expanding and accelerating our collective understanding? Isn't it increasing our potential to not only take action but do the right thing?