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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Social media, Internet would've likely changed how we watched 9/11 unfold

<p>The Tribute in Light rises above the lower Manhattan skyline and Four World Trade Center, center, and One World Trade Center, left, in a test of the memorial light display, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 in New York. The twin beams of light will also appear Wednesday, Sept. 11, twelve years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)</p>

The Tribute in Light rises above the lower Manhattan skyline and Four World Trade Center, center, and One World Trade Center, left, in a test of the memorial light display, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 in New York. The twin beams of light will also appear Wednesday, Sept. 11, twelve years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Today, people all around the United States will take to Facebook and Twitter expressing their thoughts and concerns about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But if social media was as prevalent 12 years ago, the coverage of the events would have been different. Instead of turning on TVs to watch the news broadcasts, people would go online.

David Ostroff, UF College of Journalism and Communications chair of telecommunication, said more information would be flowing.

“I think, obviously, there would have been a lot more information coming around,” he said.

But the influx of information would be chaotic, forcing people to spend time making sense of it, he said.

Bruce Floyd, UF social media expert, agreed that coverage would have been different if these technologies were around 12 years ago. He said the event could have been crowdsourced.

“News agencies would scour social media to find discussion about what is happening and piece things together in real time,” he said.

Molly Disabb, a 19-year-old UF wildlife ecology and conservation sophomore, said she isn’t going to post anything about the terrorist attacks online.

“I like to keep my affairs private on the matter. I don’t feel Facebook is the place to discuss that,” she said.

However, Floyd believes Disabb will be in the minority. He anticipates many students will post about the tragedy on Facebook and Twitter. Floyd said he encourages students to be cautious about what they put online.

“Don’t be surprised if someone responds positively or negatively,” he said. “Being that it is 9/11, there are still some sensitivities out there.”

A version of this story ran on page 1 on 9/11/2013 under the headline "Internet would’ve impacted 9/11"

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The Tribute in Light rises above the lower Manhattan skyline and Four World Trade Center, center, and One World Trade Center, left, in a test of the memorial light display, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 in New York. The twin beams of light will also appear Wednesday, Sept. 11, twelve years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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