How social media would have affected 9/11/2001

April 8, 2011

LA Weekly blogger Alexia Tsotsis examines how social media would have influenced reactions to the September 11th attacks in the article “What would 9-11 be like in the age of Social Media.”

She explains that, “our real-time communication platforms would provide crucial information on survivors and those looking for loved ones, as Craigslist did after Hurricane Katrina.”

By using social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, people would have quicker access to a multitude of information relating to the crisis. According to Tsotsis, social media outlets would have allowed for:

  1. Multimedia from those inside the World Trade Centers. If the attacks had taken place during 2010, office workers would have been able to tweet about what was going on and post pictures of the impending disaster. Even more importantly, they would be able to post video that would capture the true horror of 9/11. Had they had iPhones and other sorts of technology, we would have been able to more clearly understand the reactions of those inside the building, rather than just imagining it through the reactions of spectators.
  2. Videos from passengers on the planes. If we had the level of cellular device use that we have today, we would have hundreds of videos of passengers on the jets that crashed in to the twin towers. We would be exposed to a plethora of videos of passenger reactions and maybe even videos of the terrorists as they hijacked the planes.
  3. More myths, and quicker mythbusting.” With the use of Twitter or Facebook anyone and everyone would be able to post their opinions or their encounters during 9/11. We would have more exposure to conspiracy theories and exposure to people claiming that the Bush administration knew about the attacks all along. We would also, however, have access to people arguing that the 9/11 attacks were not an inside job and that Bush and his advisor’s had absolutely no knowledge of these attacks.
  4. More opinions. After Bush declared war on Iraq, Americans would have been faced with a flood of tweets that both supported and opposed the war. On the extreme, conservative side, some might say, “lets show those Jihad terrorists what America’s made of.” On the more peace-loving side, however, tweets might say, “peace in the Middle East not death showers and bombs.”

There is no denying that the American reaction to 9/11 would have been entirely different if Twitter and Facebook had been around. We would have access to an unprecedented amount of information from an unbelievably huge amount of people. Along with just being exposed to more personal encounters, and being able to find information more quickly, we would also be exposed to international opinions of the attacks. It is very apparent that if we were able to decipher the sound from the noise in the world of social media, we would have had a much better, unbiased understanding of the devastating attacks on that infamous September day.

Follow Alexia Tsotsis on Twitter.

Follow LA Weekly on Twitter.

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