Remembering September 11th Through Social Media

By: Angela Walschinski, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

It’s hard to believe that this Saturday marks the 9th year anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, you’ll likely think back to that day when you first heard about the attacks. I was a high school sophomore in biology class working on a lab. I will never forget the horrified looks on my classmate’s faces when an announcement came over the PA to tell us the news.

Looking back on that day, I remember the media’s impact. Everyone was glued to a TV or listening to the radio, waiting for any kind of update. However you learned about the attacks, it would be very different if the same thing happened today.

At the time of 9/11, the Internet was around but social media networks were a thing of the future. Now people can easily access not just the Internet, but any number of social media outlets to share their memories, grief, anger, frustrations, and pain at the click of a button.

Today, social media networks act as a gathering place for information and sharing. While 9/11 occurred nine years ago, social media sites today are focused on the anniversary, the day and its impact. This is just one example of the power of social media when it comes to current events. Three social media outlets in particular are the ones people turn to when there is breaking news.

  • Twitter, love it or hate it, is a powerful tool when it comes to breaking news. Remember the “miracle landing on the Hudson River?” Pictures and tweets were posted while passengers were still standing on the wing of the plane! A number of Twitter hash tags are already in use to commemorate 9/11.
  • Facebook allows for more in-depth sharing of information. Groups of people can come together and follow something they believe, or want information about, by “liking” a page. Almost as soon as something major happens in the world, you can count on the creation of Facebook pages dedicated to that topic.
  • And of course there is YouTube, which provides the power of the visual. Expect to see video sharing of  memorial services and tributes around the world as 9/11 approaches.

The terrible events of September 11th affected people around the globe and will be remembered for the rest of our lives. While not everyone will make it to a formal memorial service, many will come together with others on social media sites to pay their respects to the victims and share stories of the tragedy.

So as our world changes, so does our communication tools. In this case, social media provides all of us with an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings and remember a day that changed the world.