The ten-year anniversary of 9/11 has certainly meant that for me, this is a weekend filled with personal reflection. It’s heartbreaking to watch it all over again.
And there’s been lots written about how communication was so different, just ten years ago, before social media. Many are speculating about what things would have been like if our current ways of sharing information had been in place on September 11, 2001.
Some say that families might have located love ones sooner, that lives might have been saved.
We would almost certainly have heard more “last words”
Others say that digital rumours would have spread more quickly and the negative outcomes would outweigh the positives.
My own thoughts turn to the idea of what it might have been like if we’d had social media ten or even twenty years prior — in 1991 or 1981? Is it just possible that we’d have known each other better in 2001 and had more compassion – to the point that support for the things that created 9/11 wouldn’t have been possible? that something similar to wikileaks would have exposed issues before they became as bad as they did? that we’d have had enough wide-spread information around the globe to ensure that hatred fueled by propaganda did not flourish?
We need a population of critical thinkers, with access to pertinent information and also the skills to find, evaluate and use that information towards peace and compassion. I think social media alone would not have been enough. But it could have helped.