THE BLOG

The Brussels Attack Proves an Important Point About Our Relationship With Facebook

25/03/2016 12:16 GMT | Updated 26/03/2017 10:12 BST

"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone."

Joni Mitchell wrote those lyrics in 1970 and during Tuesday's attacks in Brussels, they rang true for many scrambling to check in on loved ones.

As news broke of the bombings, the first port of call for most, was an unlikely source: Facebook.

Those in panic mode believed Zuckerberg's kingdom was the only thing that could reach any "friend" caught up in the turmoil felt throughout Belgian's capital.

Within hours of the attacks, all eyes were on Facebook's Safety Check notification system.

Why wasn't it switched on? Why the delay?

When I called Facebook mid-morning on Tuesday, a spokesperson said Facebook had "got this" and that everyone was in a meeting. I didn't need to ask what the meeting was about.

Minutes later, good news. The Safety Check feature had been activated. The relief, was evident.

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become the bread and butter of human connection.

With more than one billion daily active users it has managed to make itself a part of our daily lives.

Even for those of us with genuine Facebook phobia, managing a profile that does the bare minimum, it offers solace in the event of an emergency.

What other social media platform can give anyone, in a crisis, the ability to instantly tell everyone, they're ok? The only tool that might come close, is Twitter.

Without the blue and white friend zone, we would most probably have to resort to email, WhatsApp or text to check in on people.

However, all three of those communication methods requires you to have email addresses and/or numbers for every single person in your life you would have otherwise "friended" on Facebook.

This includes, old school mates, those people you met during Freshers' week that you never spoke to for the rest of your university life, work colleagues, acquaintances that you bonded with at a wedding with a lot of bad dancing...the list goes on.

Side note, if you do have numbers and email addresses for all of the above groups of people in your life, you're a much better human than me.

My point is that we still turn to Facebook, despited all its flaws, in an emergency.

For brief moment in time, Tuesday's tragedy reminded us what it would be like to live in a world without Zuckerberg's creation all because the platform was a little late in switching on its Safety Check feature.

Until something better comes along, we've got to admit that our relationship with Facebook is probably closer to love than "like."