Debate: Social media and 9/11

I’m certainly not the only one who has mulled over the idea of social media and 9/11. Chicago Magazine blogger Whet Moser has taken on Washington Post publisher Katherine Weymouth, who wrote of being grateful that we did not have social media technology on that day 10 years ago. She is quoted: “Can you imagine how horrifying it would have been if we had tweets from the victims on the planes or in the offices, or if they had posted to their Facebook pages?” Moser disagrees, saying such technology may have aided in communication amid the chaos, and/or contributed to the historical record. You can read his entire post here.

Granted, all this debate is neither here nor there, because the fact remains that social media as we know it today did not exist 10 years ago. There’s probably no concrete way to prove this hypothesis, but still I wonder if in some subconscious way that feeling of helplessness on that September day led to developments in social media, as a way to stay connected. What do you think? Would social media have developed anyway/at the same time? Or did times of crisis such as 9/11 spur it on?

More takes on issues surrounding social media, news coverage and 9/11:

9/11 on 24/7: Youth, social media and the modern news cycle, Annie Hammock for the Journal & Courier (Lafayette, Ind.)

“The dilemma for news organizations is where to find the fine line between the graphic and the gratuitous, the essential and the egregious. And they must ask if it matters when social media and citizen journalism are constantly shifting that line. The pictures so carefully filtered on 9/11 can now easily be found on the Internet. Images of the experience are so ubiquitous, it is perhaps understandable that young adults lack any perception of the attacks as something remarkable in the history of terrorism or the practice of journalism.”

9/11 in a social media world: How the times have changed, Peter Stringer for (Boston)

“Social media’s real-time sharing is a different story altogether. Messages are much shorter and carry far less detail, but they circulate with blinding speed. Still, as soon as you can share something on Facebook, your missive is bumped down the News Feed by something else. So what would your News Feed have looked like on 9/11? Presumably, it would be overwhelmed with posts of mourning, sadness, horror and anger. People who rarely post would likely feel compelled to suddenly weigh in, caught up in the heat of the moment. But how much phone or in-person contact would you actually have with your friends and family in the aftermath?”

How 9/11 changed social media, Rabbi Jason Miller shares a letter from Meetup founder Scott Heiferman for The Jewish Week (New York)

“A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and grow local communities?”

September 12: The 9/12 Project, Barbara Bresnahan and Tim Jensen for the Enfield (Conn.) Patch

“Few things remind us to stop and think so profoundly as the anniversary of 9/11. … It has been said that on the day after, 9/12, Americans stood together as one, like never before, putting aside their political ideas, skin colors and religious views. In an effort to keep that feeling of togetherness alive, The 9/12 Project was formed. … Promoted as a volunteer-based, non-partisan movement, the group’s aim is focused on building and uniting communities back to the place we were on 9/12/2001.”



Technology and the way we remember 9/11: Ten years later

9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial. (

Ten years ago, I was a senior in high school when we heard the news of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, followed by the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. I remember being frustrated that I couldn’t watch as much news coverage as I wanted to while in school. My school — a small, private K-12 school — was trying to keep up a semblance of normalcy for the small kids. Classes and soccer practice went on as normal, but I remember feeling that it was somehow wrong to be running laps when so much was going on elsewhere in my state and country.

At home, I watched as much of the TV coverage as I could. The events of 9/11 weren’t the first news coverage I watched intently — I recall getting up early to watch Princess Diana’s funeral and later, coverage of the 2000 presidential election — but, like everyone, I knew 9/11 was something beyond anything the U.S. had ever experienced before. As I watched the replay of the images of smoke and terror, I recall feeling vulnerable. I knew with certainty that the world had changed. We would never go back to normal; there was a new normal now.

As we remember those events from the perspective of 10 years later, I am also struck by how much has also changed in terms of media and news coverage of such events, perhaps even partially in response to 9/11. On 9/11/01, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube. In my house, we had barely had an Internet connection installed (after years of begging on my part). On 9/11/01 there were, however, digital cameras, cell phones and compact video recorders. The major media had relied on content produced by amateurs before (such as the Zapruder film of President Kennedy’s assassination.) But the events of 9/11 were somehow different. Images and video from ordinary people who witnessed extraordinary events poured in to news media and out across the airwaves. People wanted to know — and the media wanted to tell us — what it was like, what the people at Ground Zero were experiencing first-hand.

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Use social media to promote your business blog

So you’ve got a blog promoting your business. Now how do you promote your blog? Try some of the tips in this post about harnessing the power of other social media to promote your blog — and your business — from Entrepreneur mag blogger Susan Gunelius. Hints include both connecting more while making use of automated features.

If that’s not enough reading to keep you busy, check out these links and hints for improving your business blog.

1. SEO for Small Business

Now that you’re promoting your blog with social media, help your desired audience find you.

2. Business Blog Tips that Make a Difference

Clean it up, keep it simple and smile for the camera.

3. Best Blogging Tips and Guides

2011 is only half-way through, so while we’re waiting to get through the rest of the year we’ll have to make do with this 2010 “best of” guide from Social Media Today. I think you’ll find the compilation to have maintained its relevance.

4. Tips for Building a Strong, Vibrant Network

After all, that’s what all this blogging and social networking is about, right?







8 resources for overcoming your business’ social media strategy slump

For nearly all businesses these days, maintaining a certain level of social media presence is a must. And as we’ve all heard, an effective social media strategy can drive business, increase sales, build a sense of community and lead to the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But you’ve probably discovered by now that in practice, just implementing social media isn’t a magic key — it requires some hard work and careful strategy. So, instead of ripping your hair out as you try to figure out what works and what doesn’t, check out these articles and sites for proven strategies.

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