Rise of the Blogosphere – 9/11

I was in kindergarten when 9/11 happened. I’d say that most people my age remember it, or at least some of the immediate aftermath of what happened. Although I didn’t really understand what was going on, I remember most of it very vividly, which might have something to do with the fact that my mother is a flight attendant for American Airlines; she knew of some of the crew working on flights 11 and 77. I remember the tension and the heavy feeling in my house and asking my mom something like, “but the flight attendants didn’t die, right?”

One thing I don’t remember, or didn’t pay attention to at the time, was what was being covered on the news before and after the event happened. Barlow brings this all up in Chapter 13, “9/11 and the Rise of the Blogosphere.” In explaining the gravitation away from watching the news, Barlow states that many had already started turning to the Internet for better coverage (157). He quotes Tom Fenton: “some nights prior to 9/11, the network news shows no foreign news at all” (156). As a young adult in 2017, that’s almost impossible for me to imagine. I don’t watch evening news very often, but when I do there is pretty much always a mention of what is going on in the rest of the world. And with the news quite literally at my fingertips, I often feel like I know about major events that are going on on the other side of the world. 9/11 changed so many aspects about life in America and around the world with regards to things like security and prejudice, but I had never thought about how it changed journalism and the media.

During the aftermath of 9/11 is when Barlow says that he “recognized the incredible power of the Web as a source of information” (158) but it’s impossible for me to imagine the Web in any other way. Reading this part of the book made me wonder what 9/11 would have been like if the world were where it is at now with technology. People would likely have been live streaming from the streets of Manhattan covered in dust and debris. There probably would have been a live stream that caught the collapse of the towers. People would have been live Tweeting and checking in on Facebook to let their friends know that they were safe. It’s all really haunting to think about, honestly.

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