Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Twitter In The Face of Fear
Two Sundays ago marked the 10 year anniversary for the 9/11 attacks, and as I sat and watched a special about it on the History Channel a thought popped into my head: what would of 9/11 been like if Twitter had been around?
Think about the news that had been released and spread through social networks: the plane landing on the Hudson River, the riots in London, Osama's death, and just recently the suicide of former Nashville Predator Wade Belak (just to name a few).
If you are interested there is a recording on August 9 of The Arlene Bynon Show on AM640 where Mathew Ingram, GigaOM's senior writer, talks about social media and the effects it had on the Arabic rebellions as well as the riots that took place in London, England.
President Barak Obama officially confirmed Osama Bin Laden's death on the White House's Twitter page and then later on announced to the American people on his own account when he would give his formal address on the matter. But even before Osama's confirmed death Twitter was abuzz with speculation that something was up.
Now try and imagine Twitter on 9/11. Watching the towers collapse on TV was horrific enough so I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to get tweets from someone two blocks away from the World Trade Centre. These are people who witnessed the planes as they hit, heard and felt the explosions, and wondered as they watched from down below how bad it could possibly be up there that the best option was to jump. The hysterics that these individuals would be in is unimaginable. I remember being planted in front of the TV watching the news coverage, and of course the anchors were in shock and disbelief, but they weren't hysterical. I don't think that I could of watched had they been.
On the Forbes website an article titled "#TotalChaos: What If The Mayor Had Twitter on 9/11?" was posted along with a short YouTube video of the potential posts he could of written had Twitter been around at the time. I myself got chills as I watched it.
Lets look at it from a different point of view: being inside the towers after the planes had hit and knowing that there was no way you were coming out of this alive. On the morning of the attack cellphone reception was not at its best; calls were either being dropped or misdirected. With today's technology that might not of been a problem. So ask yourself this, with tweeting being one of the fastest ways to reach a lot of people simultaneously, could you say goodbye to loved ones in 140 characters or less?
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding this topic recently but I want to know your opinions on the matter. So the question is this: could Twitter of changed the events that took place that fateful day? Or would it have only connected us to those witnessing it first hand in a far more intimate way and in turn magnify the terror and hysterics?
Posted by Brittany at 10:23