Twelve years after the attacks of 9/11, we are remembering the catastrophe through Twitter. There is even a hashtag for people to share their memories: #wherewereyou. And if you're willing to forget all the silliness and inanity that passes for 140-character conversation, it can actually start to seem like Twitter is letting people actually be earnest and sincere.
The Washington Post actually used the same hashtag three years ago, but that seems like eons ago in Internet time. Today, it has a more organic, crowd-sourced feel. It is, of course, one of many ways people are using social media to remember the event. All these remembrance, however, suggest that the likes of Twitter and Facebook can, once in a while, transcend frivolity and do what they were meant to do — let people connect with each other.
Reuters's Jim Roberts, for example, linked to the front page of his former employer, The New York Times:
CBS's Mark Knoller was in Florida, where George W. Bush was famously reading The Pet Goat to little children:
Twelve years ago this day I was at the Emma Booker School in Sarasota, where Pres. Bush was visiting a reading program.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 11, 2013
Others were having coffee on what had been a beautiful Tuesday morning:
at cafe in Chelsea, thinking at first it was an amateur plane like the one that hit the Empire State Building in the 20s #wherewereyou— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) September 11, 2013
Meanwhile, The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta was simply a daughter looking for her father:
Confirming my dad, who worked in N. tower, wasn't there. Then down to evacuated WH for updates fr Alan Etter. Chasing rumors. #wherewereyou— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) September 11, 2013
Gwen Ifill could not get away from the smell of smoke...
We smelled the smoke outside our Virginia studios...for weeks #wherewereyou— gwen ifill (@gwenifill) September 11, 2013
...which was visible from space:
On September 11, 2001 there was one American in space. This is a photo he took from the International Space Station pic.twitter.com/VKUQ9dhXNS— Earth Porn (@earth_p0rn) September 11, 2013
No, #wherewereyou won't change the way people use Twitter to talk about silly things. It's just one way people are capable of using Twitter. You can get a lot of feeling into 140 characters.