Often, as I think back to the day of September 11, 2001, I think of the social technologies we have now, especially Twitter, and how things might have been different THEN. Maybe more people could have been rescued, for example. I imagine that people trapped in the rubble could have texted, and the people around the world could have helped crowdsource to triangulate where they were. Applications of social media for disaster response is a topic for another series of posts.
This morning, I opened my computer to find an email with a powerful essay from Col. Holly Doyne of the US Army and author of Kuwait Diary (about her work in the Iraq conflict). She highlighted some of her personal losses in the 9-11 disaster, recommended Exhibit 13 by Blue Man Group, talked about the losses of the day, the losses that followed, and the losses to us all from the changes made to keep us safe. She closed with this quotation.
“And the work of the righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.” From the Prayer Book for Jewish Personnel in the Armed Forces of the United States – 1984 JWB
When I opened Twitter, the discussion was already raging – people remembering, telling stories, personal experiences and more. I captured the following slide images in the space of just a few minutes. There is much much more in Twitter, but these few selections give a sampling of the stories being shared and the memories being relived. The power of Twitter (specifically) as well as microblogging and social media in general for storytelling, healing, sharing and disaster response ought to provoke further thought and what we can and should be doing with these new technologies, as well as what the risks may be at the personal level from not developing the competencies to make effective use of them.