So I was listening to the radio this morning and like everyone else, the DJ’s were talking about the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11. Not that talking about 9/11 is nothing special to talk about (that would just be insensitive), but it’s pretty much the hot topic in the news right now. And that obviously means that every question, sound bite and memory gets regurgitated and repeated to the enth degree and just becomes boring. It’s pretty much things any media-based dude can just skim over and look or wait for the goods that make a piece unique.
That unique piece was heard this morning when one of the DJ’s randomly threw out the question of what would’ve it been like had the technologies and innovations of smart phones, Twitter and Facebook were around when 9/11 was going on?Obviously this kind of perspective is nothing new – you can pretty much take any historical event, or even a mundane everyday event and wonder what would’ve things been like had x technology been around. But there’s something greatly contrasted about how today’s society literally depends on social media and how things were only ten years ago in 2001. The possibilities of how things could have been are endless.
Let’s start with people on the passenger airplanes:
Imagine… Tweets from passengers inside the doomed airplanes providing information and communication to not only their loved ones but perhaps to authorities on how to help those on board.
Imagine… Smart phones being used to take photos of the hijackers or of any other possible piece of evidence that could help prevent any destruction.
Imagine… The Wifi or 3G/Data connections on laptops being used to communicate (the same goes for applications like Google Voice, or Skype, which can take an individual beyond instant messaging and into the realm of more direct contact. Imagine talking to a police officer or any kind of armed forces or safety personnel delivering advice on what to do in this situation. Or if that isn’t enough, they could just go online and look for ways to help themselves.
Now let’s look at people trapped inside the WTC towers/Pentagon:
Just like with the passengers on the plane, think of the various opportunities of how the communicate with those outside the buildings… the ability to speak to loved ones… the chance to get help on what to do to survive
Imagine… seeing Tweets and Facebook statuses of those inside the buildings… the pouring of human emotion expressing the hopelessness of the situation. Or perhaps the cries of optimism and courage when all seems lost. And think of the responses. The comments. How could you keep up with it?
Then again, I don’t really think people are realistically going to be wiping away smoke and debris with one hand, and holding the blackberry in another, simultaneously trying to Tweet, read, respond and get to safety…
And imagine… and this one is pertinent to all people involves… all the footage. The historical footage. Today the footage from various archaic moment-capturing devices are reveled as significant historical documents and artifacts. Think of the higher quantities and most likely the higher quality of footage and material (and not to mention as evidence to those attempting to spawn some sort of conspiracy theory… Now that would be something…)
And then there’s the bystanders. The witnesses of terror. The masses of humanity running as fast as they can away from the dearth of smoke. Imagine what kind of footage they could’ve had…
Tangible and captured memories of the wreckage, carnage, jumpers, rescuers, monsters and outright terror.
Even though so much can be imagined of what impact it would’ve held, had all of what we have today was around at time… it almost makes me wonder… Could 9/11 have happened with if today’s technology was around back then?
It’s tough to say… but that’s another question for another time. And most likely for another person too.