Its a question many have ask as we pass the 10 year anny. of the September 11th attacks and in an era when news can come in a instant.
In 2001, there was no Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or even blogs. Internet was still a relatively new thing and many wonder how diffenent 9-11 could have been with the instant Internet and smartphone we have today. With In-Flight Internet now, we could have easily had emails, tweets and facebook messages sent out from Flight 11, 175, 77 and 93. At Ground Zero and across the USA, there would have been terrified Facebook status updates and video clips from camera phones.
Media has changed drastically since 9-11.
Such as how the world was never the same after Sept. 11th, news was never the same after social media broke into the world. If 9/11 happened today news coverage would not be limited to BBC, CNN and other networks such as ABC, it would have everywhere and anywhere.
Ten years is a long time especially in the technology department.
In 2001, Internet was brand new, text messaging was non-existent, no one had heard of Blackberry or BBM and smart phones such as the iPhone was nothing. In fact cell phones hadn’t even hit there climax yet. Cell phone networks weren’t what they are today and even if you got through you most likely were to get a busy signal. If these attacks had happened with today’s technology, the 1st reports would have come from Facebook updates or a pedestrian’s Twitter feed who had just witnessed the 1st plane hit the North Tower.
If you imagine 9-11 with Facebook and Twitter, how diffenent does that picture seem? Do people even think about posting on Facebook when they are close to dying and possibly facing their death. Cell-Phone pictures would have been taken and posted to Twitter & Facebook, people in the South Tower would have been taking pictures after the 1st plane hit thinking they were safe. What if South Tower victims had posted what was going to on to family and friends? Would they have evacuated sooner? Indecision and the unknown before them paralyzed many people on 9/11. Perhaps this social influence from loved ones would have mobilized more people to ignore building security’s initial instructions and leave the South Tower earlier.
What if United 93 had 2011 technology? With on-board wifi providing those with access to sites such as Twitter perhaps they may have learned of the attacks sooner and stopped there own hijacking in time to save their lives. The run of social media is sometimes even faster then the event it covers.
There is also the cons of todays technology as well:
1st, a nation was looking for all the answers as soon as the 1st plane struck and who knows what kind of stories and lies could have possibly made it out to the main stream media. All it would take is for 1 tweet to spread some false truth, Twitter would be taken over with back and forth re-tweets of peoples arguments with one another and Facebook would be flooded with status updates that aren’t 100% accurate, unlike in 2001 when all this happened over emails of rumors and pictures spreading like wildfire every few minutes rather then the seconds it takes now.
Social Media’s real time sharing is a different story. Messages are shorter and in twitters case limited to 140 characters but move across the globe in a blinding fast speed. Still as soon as something is posted on Facebook, another storie jumps in front of it. News Feeds across america would have been flooded with posts of mourning, sadness, horror and anger. People who rarely post would feel compelled to weigh in, caught up in the heat of the moment.
First hand accounts would have added a whole new dimension as we would hear and see what was happening from a personal perspective through text messages or videos taken from camera phones would be an experience different from the viewpoints of giant media.
But how much phone or in-person contact would you actually have with your friends and family in the aftermath?
In 2001, 9-11 requitred us to truly think about what had just happened, to talk with family and friends as we tried to come to terms with it and collecting our emotions. Families affected still carry with them those mementos that have the voice of a husband/wife, father/mother, daughter/son, sister or brother on them, the one thing that may not have happened in today’s instant media world. In 2001, the phone is all we had, the only way of letting family members know that we were safe.
We all had our own take or story of that day but everything we documented was through peoples stories verbally told on TV or on the streets, not on some computer screen. Talking is how we healed.
So today we came to expect tweets and news feed stories honoring those fallen heroes lost in 9-11 and rightfully so or 9/11 references, videos and tributes to grace our TV screens. On Sept. 12th though other then a few news stories its back to normal and tweeting about celebrities or NFL football.
I’m not saying that social media would make us care less if another event like 9/11 ever came along, because despite everything we believe and understand we don’t know how we as a nation or world would react and hopefully we never have to find out. Given the world we sometimes live in an answer could come sooner then we think and I believe the same sadness and anger felt on that day would be a very familiar feeling.
The healing process however, will change us forever.