9/11: How Things Have Changed

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Today is the anniversary of one of the most terrifying events in American history, so it’s no surprise that a Mashable article came out on how people are tweeting about 9/11. After all, the anniversary of the attack on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers is our generation’s Pearl Harbor.   Twitter is abuzz with stories about what everyone was doing the moment they found out or the unbridled emotions involved in the 11th anniversary of an event.  On the cusp of the National elections, people are discussing unhealed wounds of a people eagerly awaiting the future and how 9/11 shaped the American perspective.

In a lot of ways, we’re different, especially in regards to social media. The trending networks of today arrived after the September 11th attacks. Twitter was created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, almost 5 years after 9/11.  Facebook, which has become an integral part of the global social media fabric with over 955 million users, wasn’t launched by Mark Zuckerberg until February of 2004. Even Myspace wasn’t launched until well into 2003.

The ideas that once shaped this country haven’t changed, but altered significantly with the help of a devastating attack and social media. News is instant more than ever and as more people become socially involved, people huddle closer to their computers as they obtain a new freedom online. For instance,  Twitter has been an important factor for political pundits, general opinions and even major milestones and events including political protests such as Arab Spring. Reddit, Tumblr, and blogging websites post opinions as quickly as news is made. And Facebook has become this unique being in itself, one that combines the opinions of friends and family with socially involved gaming.

The strange thing about all of this is the fact that 9/11 shaped who we are and the birth of online social media. Would people have become as politically involved online if it hadn’t been for the attack on American soil? Would there have been as many privacy setting issues with Facebook or, alternatively, sharing with loved ones separated by geographical distance? Perhaps the best way to look at this is we’ve mourned the people we lost, but are grateful for the nation we have become. A nation united, undivided by the strength of  online social media.

Image courtesy september11new.com

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