9-11-01: How did you hear about it?

A week ago tomorrow marked the 11th anniversary of 9-11. I watched the news as President Obama held a silent vigil for those that perished and suffered. I asked my son if they spoke about it in class and he said they did just briefly. Then last night I watched a movie called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Throughout the movie, the boy listens to messages on the answering machine of his father who was in the World Trade Center during the attacks. The messages left on the machine where of him, the father, not knowing what was going on or what to do. I couldn’t help but wonder how different things would have been had it been for smartphones, apps, tablets, Twitter, and IM.

Those in the building could have had some information on what was going on released through a Twitter post or they could have developed an App for news for their office and released a message through that. Those in the plane could have sent something more than phone messages, maybe pictures of kissing goodbye.. And what about the rest of the world who didn’t know what was going on?

I was at Bob Evans having breakfast with my mother and 10-month-old son. A friend came running to us and said that America was being attacked. I looked at her like she was crazy. Every one around the restaurant was acting normal. Just like the little boy who recollects where he was during each phone call on the machine.

How different would it have been if I had a smartphone with Internet access? How different it would have been for so many people. I found an article that discusses what different people were doing and how they found out what had happened. After reading it I realized that every one had to go to the television to find out what was going on. No body in the article said they got a Tweet or a notice from their CNN App.  All this to say that emerging media has changed how we know what is going on around us; from Apps that let us know what the traffic is to Tweets about what Jim Cantore is doing on the Weather Channel.

How did you hear about what was going on?


One thought on “9-11-01: How did you hear about it?

  1. To be honest the cell networks were pretty much down in DC and NY that day. I’m not certain that we would have been getting our news all that much differently. A friend left a message on my cell that morning as events were unfolding, and I didn’t get it until 4 that afternoon – he was telling me to leave DC.

    Last year on the anniversary, I did remember that we didn’t have anything but dial-up internet at our house (which was useless since the phone networks were jammed most of the day also), cable internet was not yet common. That would have been a useful communication tool. I don’t believe that we would have gotten and emergency specific information any more quickly or accurately than the TV and radio news that we had, but it would have made contacting family and counting heads much easier.

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