Pagers, Pay Phones, and Dialup: How We Communicated on 9/11

Wired | 9/11/2001 | Staff
bab_ohhbab_ohh (Posted by) Level 3
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Thinking about the communications on 9/11 made me realize just how different our experience of the attacks would be today—and how much more we would know, for better or worse, given our increased interconnectedness and instinct to turn to technology first when disaster strikes.

On 9/11, there were just three videographers, all coincidentally foreigners—a French filmmaker, a German artist, and a Czech tourist—who captured the impact of the first plane in New York City. Only two security cameras at the Pentagon are known to have captured the impact of the plane there. In Pennsylvania, there is literally only a video of the mushroom cloud rising from the field in the moments after Flight 93 crashed. It’s safe to say that today there would be scores, hundreds or even thousands, of photos and videos of low-flying planes hitting the towers and the Pentagon or diving over the rolling hills of Pennsylvania.

Today - Facebook - Live - Video - Tweets

Today, there would be Facebook Live video, tweets, and Instagram posts from the streets below, from people caught in the impact zones, and most likely from victims trapped above the crash zones in the World Trade Centers—perhaps even from aboard the hijacked planes themselves. We would know intimately the sights and sounds that those trapped amid the day’s horrors experienced in their final moments and would be bombarded by the tragic images of people jumping or falling from the World Trade Center.

If today’s communications technology had existed in 2001, it’s even possible that, just as the mass shooter in New Zealand broadcast his massacre on Facebook, the 9/11 hijackers themselves might have broadcast their own attack—their goal, of course, to spread...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Wired
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