Posted by: hannakd | July 26, 2011

Oslo, Norway: Strategically Communicating in a time of Tragedy

I have spent the last month in Oslo, Norway. I have seen Oslo on many different levels, learning, exploring, and un-expectantly being apart of a Norwegian tragedy. Friday, July 22nd, as I exited the subway I felt and heard something I had never before. After an hour of chaos and confusion I found myself in a situation I could have never predicted when I decided to study abroad in Norway this summer.

After this horrific event, it was not the government, but the people that put together an event to commemorate the victims of this tragedy. The people took the initiative to put together a grassroots campaign via Facebook to get the people together to acknowledge those that lost their lives in the Oslo bombing and the Utoya youth camp shooting. This is an amazing representation of strategically communicating. The event was going to include a procession starting at the City Hall, however there was a bigger turn out than estimated, so the event turned into a gathering to show respect and a chance to come together. I was lucky enough to be apart of the estimated 150,000 people in attendance yesterday evening, and witness this nation coming together to show strength and unity to the world.

It is amazing how social media can play such a huge role informing and bringing people together in a time of sorrow. As Crown Prince Haakon said last night, “The streets are filled with love.” The Rose Parade could not be a better representation of this statement.

Aside from Facebook bringing the Norwegian people together, social media played a huge role in the communication between my peers and myself. After Friday’s events I wrote a blog post about my personal experience on Friday, and posted a link to the post on my Facebook page. The response I received was not what I expected at all. My Facebook wall and inbox was flooded with concern and positive thoughts from those who had heard about the attacks. Along, with Facebook, I received numerous Tweets making sure I was safe.

Social media plays a role in my daily life, but never like this. These events really emphasized how amazing, and important social media really is in our world today.

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