the day after

It’s difficult to say something appropriate in times like these — even the politicians have struggled — so I’m not going to try. There’s been many claims over the years as to the Internet’s ‘coming of age’, but only yesterday did I actually feel some truth in the theory. As the awful events unfolded like a nightmarish cocaine-fuelled Jerry Bruckheimer script, for the first time I can think of a major story was receiving more civilian coverage than that offered by the news agencies. All over my office people were sending and receiving mail from contacts in New York, checking that friends and relatives were OK, whilst the messageboards at Metafilter, Slate, Salon, even Popbitch, were filled with concerned users posting updates as they happened, the story unfolding throughout the day. Several times I was directed to amateur video footage of part of the drama on some obscure website, only to see the same footage later or the BBC or CNN hearaled with an “Exclusive! This Just In!” introduction. Of course the news as it appeared online was a mixture of rumour (“a plane has just been hijacked in Amsterdam and is heading West!”) and fact, but overall people kept their heads, posting responsibly, helping those in need of specific information or assistance. An extraordinary, awful, confusing, somehow exhilarating, terrible, terrible day.