How the 9/11 Experience Made Relevant Social Media Platforms

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is just days away, we as a country remember how the tragedy affected our lives and changed the way we communicate forever.  In 2001 the notion of weblogs and weblogging was just in its infancy and was far from being adapted as a platform for news source or quotable information, but that all changed by 9:40ish am September 11th 2001. I remember looking back at the smoke filling the sky all the way to mid-ground and thinking, “wow it was such a beautiful day.” I had written in a journal my thoughts about my experience, the pandemonium, not finding my family until 8:00pm and how my parents should make this cell phone thing a reality for me and my siblings – seeing as how we couldn’t reach each other during a world crisis in our own city.

By January everyone I knew in New York had a cell phone and every online user who contributed to documenting their feelings and thoughts just moments after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, increased the participation of people blogging and the audience that pays attention. Not everyone in the rest of the country knew what was happening in the trenches of NYC. The personal accounts from those who were there, the true feelings of people confused and worried, increased our hunger to pay attention to the accounts of real people transmitting news. This in effect shifted how we consume “news” in and of itself. It increased our desire for Social – direct to peer, Media – the news as it is happening.

As Professor Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everyone” states in his book and is subtitled on the cover, “Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technology, it happens when society adopts new behaviors.” This is exactly what 9/11 did to us and for us, our acceptance to integrate social media into the DNA of our everyday lives.





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