9/11: How Social Media Helps Us Heal

It’s been a decade since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the life altering experience has continued to stay fresh in our minds. Since that fateful morning in 2001, times have changed immensely, particularly in the social media world. At that time, the social media outlets of choice were email, chat rooms and message boards, which began filling with messages of fear, sadness and thousands searching for answers. Even traditional media outlets were scarce as local and cable outlets were the main distributors of breaking news; the Internet was still in its relative infancy.

With a decade gone by and the continued progression of social media, new outlets are helping victims to heal.

No matter which social media outlet is your outlet of choice, odds are you have already seen the dedications to the anniversary of this tragedy. Most of our lives are shared online, so why shouldn’t grieving and healing be part of the process that’s shared, too?

The tragedy was overwhelming, shocking and hard for most of the world to swallow. Blogs, websites, Facebook Pages and YouTube channels continue to bring reality to that day for many of us. The Budweiser Commercial, which aired only once after the tragedy, is a simple yet impacting example of recognition of the events that took place on 9/11. A smartphone app called a Call To Remember is another example of a way social media is helping us to heal. This application, a collaboration between a 9/11 memorial group and Broadcastr.com, allows for its users to record their own stories of that day, upload them and pin them to any location in the world. When people navigate to that location—either physically or online—they can listen to the stories attached to that location.

By revisiting this moment in history, it helps us all better understand the emotions we experienced—and how far we have come—since then.

Social media wasn’t around during such tragedies as the JFK assassination or the space shuttle Challenger explosion, but if it had been, maybe healing would have been easier. Luckily though, as we heal and annually remember the tragic events of 9/11, social media is here, providing us with an open outlet to share stories, faith and to remember loved ones lost but not forgotten.