9/11 and Social Media

What if 9/11 Happened Today?

If we were to ever have to relive the events of  September 11, 2001, social media would certainly change the way in which the media would receive information…and the way in which it would deliver the information.  Think about it for a moment.   There is no doubt the images that would have come out of the World Trade Center as workers scrambled to figure out what was going on, and ultimately tried to figure out how they would ever escape alive, would have painted an almost unbearable and unimaginable picture.

If even half of the workers had a smart phone in hand that day,  we would have seen images from inside the stairwells, as hundreds of people frantically tried to make their way to the bottom floor.  We would have very likely seen “up-close,” a fire raging from the 95th floor of  the North Tower.   We would have heard the screams and seen the images of people  badly burned, who would have never made it out alive.  In an instant, the images would have been captured and shared…and been on every network within minutes.  We would have seen from their eyes, the events play out in a way we could never imagine.

“Let’s roll,” the phrase we all heard about from an operator who was on the phone with Todd Beamer, may have been heard from Todd himself.  Perhaps we would have seen the terrorists working to bring down the planes, and the heroic efforts to try and stop them.  With the press of a few keys, that’s exactly what would have happened if 9/11 happened today.

In 2001, there was no YouTubeTwitter or Facebook.  Nor were phones equipped with cameras or video capability.   Cell phones came into play that day, but were used to place one final call to husbands and wives, children, friends, and moms and dads.

If 9/11 were to happen today with the technology and social media outlets we have, it would have given many the ability to say goodbye one last time, giving some families closure if their loved ones were never found–for others a chance to say they had made it out.

For others in the path of the terror, it would have provided a means to quickly and easily tell the world they were out of harm’s way. One person can only remember to call so many people. A Facebook update or a tweet could have said, “I’m fine, worry about everyone else who needs help.”

In the days following the tragedy, the benefits of social media would have been undeniable. Just look at the relief efforts that arose on Facebook and Twitter following the earthquake in Japan in 2011.



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