September 11th, 2001.
It’s a day I’ll never forget.
I was a sophomore in high school and I remember sitting in my homeroom class, playing around with my friends when the teacher rushed in the room and turned on our TV. We were clueless teenagers who wanted to find out what was going on. We would soon find out as the entire school tuned in to the news.
There had been a plane that crashed into one of the Twin Towers. We sat there feeling helpless with tears in our eyes; some of my classmates were terrified as they wondered if their loved ones were in the vicinity of the accident. Then, in what seemed like only a few short moments later, there was another plane that crashed into the other tower.
We were all devastated as fear of national terrorism began eating away at the joy we carried in our hearts as we entered the school that morning. Later in the afternoon, my parents informed me that a new family friend whom we’d met a week ago during a revival worked in one of the Twin Towers.
Unfortunately, he died that day.
As a Cross-Cultural New Media Specialist and professor of social media, I often wonder how would September 11th have played out if social media was as evolved and active as it is today. If you google, “social media and 9/11,” your search results will render several articles and blog posts of other like-minded enthusiasts who have wondered the same. One article written in the Huffington Post particularly shares the author’s belief that social media would have undoubtedly painted a clearer picture of what happened in the towers.
Can you imagine if Periscope, Facebook Live, Vine, YouTube Live, Snapchat, or Twitter Live were around back then? Can you imagine if GoGo Wifi had been a feature on the planes that carried countless passengers who lost their lives? I wonder what would have the end results have been. Would there have been a tweet, a post, a snap with a geofilter or an “I’m safe” check-in on Facebook that could’ve saved lives?
I’m just giving you a peek into my psychological space. This is how I often think.
I understand that there are many people who have issues with social media and choose not to create a profile because of unnecessary drama, wasting time, etc. However, consider some of the later tragedies and revolutions that have been “televised” as a result of the creation of social media. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy had a big premiere on Twitter. Traditional media outlets started depending on social media for real news coverage. This was an event that changed the way citizen journalists were viewed and respected.
Again, I can only imagine how today’s social media tools and mobile apps we find it hard to live without would have played a part in the events that took place on September 11th, 2001.
Today, because of social media, we write tributary posts, share memes, GIFs and video clips of that dark day to commemorate the lives lost, all survivors and brave heroes.