What if Facebook was around when 9/11 occurred? What if twitter was around? What information would people use their 140 characters on? What Facebook groups would be made in seconds? What would twitters trending topics be? How many Rest In Peace statuses would be written?
#Rest In Peace
George W Bush
Is this what the trending topics would have looked like after 9/11? Although mobile phones were shut down directly after the first plane hit, the rest of the world would have been desperately micro-blogging about the events, sending well-wishes, enquiring if there was a way to donate to those effected and desperately seeking answers.
Their are countless facebook groups set up in relation to 9/ll. Some include “R.I.P to all those who died on 9/11” and “Can we get 900,111 likes to show respect for the 9/11 victims” while some other more crude ones read “The awkwardness when Osama Bin Laden asks you for the time and it’s 9:11.”
The amount of groups that would have been created in remembrance, respect and some sort of twisted attempt at humour would only be much larger than what has been created now (almost 11 years later) due to the higher level of presence it had in the mass media and the fact that we would have been counting the number of them over a larger time frame.
Citizen journalism played a huge part in the reporting and mass media production of the tragic events that took place on the 11th of September 2011. This is not only due to the insane amount of mobile phone and camcorder footage but also because even the small amount of news cameras that did manage to capture those fateful moments were completely raw, you could hear the fear and the disbelief as the camera operators yelled out in shock. They too became a part of the phenomenon of citizen journalism because the staged, perfectly angular, edited shots that are generally associated with the mass media were nowhere to be seen.
While the news reports had a new kind of citizen journalism, the traditional videos that give a snapshot of the news in the seconds the complete rundown with no reporter’s monologue. Introduce: YouTube. The video sharing site created in 2005 opened the world up to a raft of new 9/11 videos. Previously shared just amongst friends, or sent in to news agencies 9/11 videos were able to reach a global audience and so began the uploads. A simple search of “9/11 footage gives results upwards of 370,000 videos.
Some of these videos were actually more steady and clear than the supposed professional camera men were able to get.
The video below was recorded by a man who simply set up his tripod and camera and left. He had no idea he would record the exact moment the second tower would be hit.
9/11 news coverage WAS citizen journalism. Perhaps not in its traditional sense so much but 9/11 definitely showed the impact citizen journalism can have.