Over a decade ago I watched the twin towers fall from my roof top in New York. My roommate told me to turn on the TV, and then we rushed around the city tracking down friends. When the bomb went off in Boston my cell phone buzzed with twitter and facebook updates.
The difference? A decade ago social media didn’t really exist. We had instant messaging (ICQ for tech people, AIM for everyone else). But now that is ancient history. Our news comes from people we choose. Instead of having your favorite reporter on ABC, NBC or CBS, friends and family update me. Most of the time I don’t need their updates (sorry, but it is a fact not everyone needs to post everything). But sometimes I want to know everything. I want to know who is where, who saw what, and what is going on. It gives me knowledge I didn’t have before, and one of the scariest feelings is not knowing. Not knowing where my girlfriend (now wife) was on 9/11 was the only thing I really cared about. It took a long time to track her down. I assumed she was ok, but the world is different now. Now I could get an update from her, and if she was unable to further communicate I could relay the message via twitter or facebook to people who wanted to know.
Sometimes it is easy to see how much social media has changed our lives.