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Digital Culture

#Bataclan: SOS on Twitter

After the terror in Paris, desperate people are searching for missing friends or relatives. During the night, a number of city residents offered shelter to stranded compatriots and tourists.

"Alarm! If anybody knows anything about Lola, 17, white, this evening in #Bataclan, please let me know!" Or: "I’m looking for my little sister Souad"; "My friend Thibault Pastor was at the Bataclan, he’s not in touch: please help me!"

During the night of an unprecedented series of terror attacks in Paris, many gripping messages were posted to Twitter. Desperate people uploaded photos of family members and friends who had been at the attack sites, including the Bataclan concert hall. Sometimes the relieving message, "Yes. I'm ok," soon appeared. Others were still waiting for a sign of life from missing persons the following morning. In an unmatched wave of solidarity, many UInternet users retweeted the requests on #Bataclan or #Recherche ("seeking"), messages like: "And again: here is a photo of Ariane and Guillaume, who were in the Bataclan. If you know anything about them, let me know. Thank you!"

The #PorteOuverte action

#PorteOuverte ("open door"), another hashtag, spread like wildfire Friday night. With it, thousands of Parisians spontaneously offered to open their doors to locals and tourists unable to return home or to their hotels for security reasons or out of fear of further attacks. “If the streets are blocked, I can take in two or three persons," twittered @thom. @GabDeLioncourt wrote: "If you're stuck on 20th Street, I have room for two on my couch."


Offers of help came from all over the city, especially from the quarters surrounding the attack sites. The #PorteOuverte action counted 480,000 tweets. These offers were praised and acknowledged by large numbers of users in France and worldwide. The hashtag #"Noussommestousunis" (we are all united) collected many statements of solidarity - as had been the case in January after the attack on the satire magazine "Charlie Hebdo" and at a Jewish supermarket.

suc / rf (afp)