Mashable Is Celebrating Every Paris Victim's Life

In a stunning show of solidarity, Mashable has instituted a virtual memorial service for every one of the 129 victims of Friday's Paris terror attacks. Mashable's Twitter project commemorating Paris attack victims, entitled "En mémoire," is a touching tribute to the people lost to the violence of terrorism on Friday night in Paris.

Included in each tweet is a short bio and a picture of each victim — Mashable gathered the pictures and information from other news sources and online profiles. Accompanying the Twitter account is an In Memoriam page that is being updated as new information about the victims becomes available.

Mashable's real-time news editor Brian Ries came up with the idea. During an editors' meeting Monday morning, he suggested the idea of using Twitter to share the lives of each victim with the world and executive editor Jim Roberts immediately ran with it.

"The part that I really like about this is its simplicity," Roberts told Nieman Lab Tuesday. "The simplicity of the idea; the simplicity of the execution; being able to capture, in 140 character, a life. While that doesn't truly explore all of the contours of these people's lives, it's amazing how powerful 140 characters can be. There was just something about that simple format that was really appealing."

Ries felt that posting the tweets to Mashable's main account would "[cheapen] the idea and would make it a little too promotional." So he and Amanda Wills, Mashable's deputy executive editor, decided to make a separate account, @ParisVictims, and the project was born. Just over 24 hours after the first tweet was posted, the account has over 31,000 followers at the time of this writing.

The best part about the project is the time delayed release. Often with media coverage of a tragedy, the initial firestorm lasts for a couple days or weeks and promptly swept away by some other breaking story. But the tweets are posting slowly, only one per hour, a slow burn to keep the memories of all the lives lost on people's minds.

The power of the project comes not from imaging those lost as saintly archetypes, but as human beings, with all their flaws and eccentricities. Twitter is the perfect medium for the project because it's how people share their lives — short updates, candid pictures, and good memories. As the world mourns the lives lost in Paris, people can share the victims' lives as well.