Living in a Less Connected World

In September 2001, I was working for a small software company in Rockville, Maryland and lived in DC.  From the moment the first plane struck the North Tower, we were uncertain about what was happening and there was little information available. Was it an accident? Intentional? We sat gathered around a co-worker’s desk refreshing a news website, transfixed by every emerging detail as the tragedy unfolded. Early reports started circulating that there had been an explosion at the Pentagon but it wasn’t immediately clear what had happened, and if it was related to the situation in New York.

Frustrated by lack of online information, we sent an office assistant to a local electronics store nearby to buy a small TV so we could follow more timely news reporting. At that point I even contemplated sleeping at our office, because I felt safer staying in Rockville than going home to DC, because no one knew if there would be more attacks. We take for granted today how interconnected and instantaneous all of our communication is through digital media, social platforms, and smart phones. But in 2001 we were much more heavily dependent on TV news reporting and the radio for current information. If you wanted to let your family know you were safe you needed to call and leave a voicemail or find some other way to get them a message.

9/11 was a fluid, developing event that kept changing as the day continued.

There was a lot of fear and uncertainty at the time because we were living in a less connected world and could not access and share accurate information then as quickly as we can today.


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