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What If Twitter Had Been Around For 9/11?

  • Poynter, Friday, September 9, 2011 3:30 PM
At a journalism symposium, "traditional" media person Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth weighed in on the issue of social media and 9/11, noting that "the 9/11 attacks would have been more traumatic if social networks were able to capture a closer, more personal view from ground zero," writes Poynter's Jeff Sonderman.

"Most of us learned about the events of that day in one of four ways - by television, by radio, by newspaper, or by a phone call from a friend," said Weymouth. "And while we are all incredibly grateful for the ways in which technology has enhanced our lives, I think we are also grateful that we didn't live through 9/11 with all of that technology. We didn't have to see live video footage shot from inside the collapsing buildings and uploaded onto YouTube. Cellphones didn't have cameras back then. ... 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?"

But as Huffington Post social media editor Mandy Jenkins blogged, "[Weymouth]'s right, it would be horrific....but I don't say 'thank goodness' to that lack of social media. I imagine, 'What if?'

"I say, if today's social media had been around, those who perished on September 11, 2001 could have been the storytellers of their own history."

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