9/11 and social media

One of the implicit rules I’ve learned on the subway is that you aren’t supposed to talk to anyone. You’re supposed to sit there and ignore the rest of the world as your personal space bubble is totally violated.

What do you do while you ignore the rest of the world on the subway? Well, for one, you can sit there and look pissed. Or you can zone out on your iPod or iPhone, checking Facebook or listening to music.

World Trade Center

The way technology and social media has taken over our world has exploded. Instead of having conversations with total strangers on the subway, you are supposed to keep to yourself, which, for our generation, has been translated into immersing yourself in technology.

When Andrew, Sena and I visited the 9/11 Memorial, the topic of technology and social media came up. What if our overuse of Twitter, Facebook and texting had been present more than 10 years ago? Would that have saved lives? Would people have been able to tweet, post an update or text others and let them know of a safe way out? Or would it have created more chaos?

While I know it may be seen as an inappropriate application to a sensitive topic, I think as users we need to look at the ways social media and technology can be used for good (and in a lot of cases, we have).

It’s just interesting to me to see what a difference technology has made in our world, and I am curious to see the other ways social media will be used in the future.


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  1. #1 by romodara14 on January 18, 2013 - 5:20 am

    This is a great perspective. I hadn’t really thought about how the end result would have looked if 9/11 had happened in a day and age where technology and social media rule our lives. It’s interesting to consider the implications of not having those tools to rely on at that time and determining why they may have helped or hindered the situation. I believe that these facets of life have helped us in many ways and have made the world safer and easier to navigate. However, it’s important to look at the repercussions that are posed as well, which you have already done. In my opinion, technology and/or social media could have been helpful tools on 9/11 to allow for better communication and speed up the evacuation process. However, I guess we will never know.

  2. #2 by knaten on January 18, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    This is a very interesting thought Chrissy. What an interesting way to compare and tie together two seemingly unrelated topics. To talk about the technology side of your post specifically, I think, like Remi said, that these advances in technology have furthered our society tremendously, however, as you began to hint on, they may have also taken us a step back. While things such as texting and internet on our phones have taken us to new levels of being able to socialize, I believe it has also taken away from the human to human interaction we face every day. As you were saying, rather than having a conversation with a stranger on a bus, we would much rather just immerse ourselves in our own technology. I think that conversing with the people around us is a skill that our generation, and even more so the generations following us, are beginning to lose. I’ve heard from multiple people on this trip, including Karen from Bloomberg, that having the skills to converse with those around you is very important to hold on to and develop, especially in this day and age of technology.

  3. #3 by shughes152013 on January 20, 2013 - 4:24 am

    I love this, Chrissy. Our conversation was really thought-evoking on this topic. It’s also interesting to consider that as social media has grown, social activism and the magnification of issues in the public light have also increased. When I think of how prevalent 9/11 was in media even 11 years ago, I wonder how much larger it could have or would have been with the help of today’s tools.

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