|Photo via Creative Commons|
by Peggy Robin
I have both friends and family members who live in Paris, and I know that many neighbors do as well, so I thought I would pass along a quick tip about Facebook’s “Safety Check” feature, which, as reported in Slate, has proven to be a godsend in helping people here connect quickly and unobtrusively with people there. The article describing it is here: Facebook Is the Best Place to Say You're OK During a Crisis. Is It the Right Place? (If that link doesn’t work, try this: http://slate.me/1H29yn3.)
You do need to be on Facebook to use the system, but if you have been one of the few holdouts (don’t like to waste time scrolling through your friends’ vacation photos?), there is now a legitimate reason to make it worth your while to sign on – even if you never use it except in circumstances such as these.
A couple of caveats: As noted in the Slate article, not everyone you know in Paris will a) be on Facebook; and b) answer the “Are you safe?” question. But enough have done so that it has been proven a useful way to speed communication, especially among far-flung friends and acquaintances, saving time for those near the center of the crisis, who may be too preoccupied with weightier things to make time to let all their contacts know they're OK.
I did individually email my close relatives. I will close with a note from one of them, who said: “We are all fine. The daughter of my good American friend was in one of the restaurants attacked. She hid under the table and was OK. She’s a med student and then has been helping the wounded.”
We send our love to the people of France.
Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.