9/11 versus the Paris attacks
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
It isn’t often that events cause me to sit back and contemplate advancements in technology and their effect on our modern life style, but every now and then I do get caught off guard. One such time was during the Paris attacks.
At the time I found out I was scared, and frantically trying to contact friends I had in France to make sure they were safe. As I waited for their replies or their return calls, I scoured social media for information—where the attacks had occurred, whether my friends had posted that they’d be anywhere near those areas, or whether they had premeditated fear from their foreign loved ones and posted to Twitter or Facebook that they were okay. Doing this eased my fears a little; what was once “unknown” became “very unlikely,” as I realized that my friends either had no plans to be anywhere near the attacks, or they had already posted in reaction to the events. Within a couple hours I had heard from all of them, and everyone was safe.
It wasn’t until the next day that I began to think about how easy it had all been. Not dealing with the tragedy itself, which was awful, but being able to contact those I cared about that I thought might be physically affected. Within three or four hours I knew that my friends were okay.
I remember when 9/11 happened. My sister, who lived close to New York at the time, was visiting. We were woken up by my mother before the second plane crashed into the tower, and though my memory as to the order of the events is a little foggy (I was about 14 at the time), I do remember my sister on the phone most of the day. She was calling people she knew who lived or worked in New York, to make sure that they were safe.
Unfortunately, because social media wasn’t as wide-spread as it is today, it was a lot harder for her to find out what she wanted to know. Information coming out of the site felt like it took forever, and people had to actually call her to ease her fears. It wasn’t as simple as taking out their smartphone and updating their status.
Social media gets a bad rap, especially with older generations who believe it isolates millennials. Though this may be true to an extent, our obsession with social media does give us some peace of mind. We know that we’re never far from information about our loved ones, whether it’s checking in with them in the wake of terrorist attacks or natural disasters, or simply to make sure they’re doing well.