#GermanWings trends online as Twitter mourns European airline crash

Twitter erupted with the hashtags #GermanWings, #4u9525, and #4u9525 today as users mourned the 150 people killed after a German Wings plane, part of the Lufthansa group, crashed in France.

According to social media monitoring platform, Brandwatch, it isn’t unusual for users to mourn via social media, and the increased large-scale plane crashes in the last two years have further pushed this trend.

“Social media is the front line of breaking news, especially when it comes to airplane tragedies which dominate social conversations in the days following an incident. We’ve seen it before with AirAsia Flight QZ8501 and VS43, hashtags trend and the world comes together to analyze, discuss, and mourn online,” said a representative for Brandwatch.

“When an emotional or tragic event occurs people take to social platforms to express love and well wishes, and of course to get the latest updates. The tragic incident today is no exception, as evidenced by the more than 260,000 mentions on social media discussing the crash.”

While the event occurred in Europe, and there have been no confirmed American victims, the highest amount of mentions, 39 per cent, came from the US. Only three per cent of mentions came out of Germany, and two per cent out of France.

In order to help handle media fallout from the crash, Lufthansa head of marketing for the Americas, Florian Gmeiner, rapidly left the 4As Transformation conference in Austin where he was set to speak on a panel earlier today. The panel was subsequently cancelled.

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