We all know of course by now the horrible events that took place in Paris over the past week in which three masked gunmen opened fire in the Charlie Hebdo offices, the home of a satirical magazine in Paris. Of course social media was alive with information as it unfolded.

Social media has become a primary form of communication, especially when disaster and tragedy strikes. What started as a simple expression of grief has now turned into one of the most popular hashtags to ever be used on social media.

#JeSuisCharlie has been tweeted over 5 million times according to Twitter Reverb.

10 hours after the attack took place, the phrase was being tweeted over 6,000 times per hour. The hashtag was often accompanied by illustrations from fellow cartoonists intended to show solidarity with the victims following the attack.

The phrase has now become a defiant statement in the wake of what is being described as an attack on the freedom of expression by Islamist extremists.

The magazine has in the past published satirical cartoons, often vulgar, mocking political and religious figures that include the Prophet Mohammed.

A senior cleric of AQAP, a branch of al Qaeda, praised the act in a recording posted to Twitter on Friday, attacking the French and saying the gunmen had ‘taught them a lesson and the limits of freedom of speech.’

Twitter’s data editor, Simon Rogers used the data received to show how the hashtag has spread all over the world. The hashtag began in Europe and the United States and was soon being tweeted out from all corners of the globe.

Mashable has pointed out that while the hashtag was one of the most popular in history it has been eclipsed by the #WorldCupFinal which attracted 32.1 million tweets last June. However it is clear, no matter what the numbers may be, that we can make our emotions felt over the use of social media.

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis, he is also a proud father of his bearded dragon, Lola. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here.

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