Remember When…We Didn’t Live in a Web 2.0 World?

What do you think of when someone asks you “Remember When?” Among the historical disasters that have plagued our world, the media has always played a prominent role in the information that is released to the rest of the world. For example, in 1986 a huge explosion occurred at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Even though nuclear power represented a large technological step forward for mankind, our technology in regard to media was still lacking. In fact, the Soviet Union tried its hardest to keep any information regarding the disaster out of media coverage. Not only did it take a long time for the rest of the world to find out about the disaster, but when they did, many of the facts were inaccurate and misleading. This is only one of the many examples in which getting authentic news coverage was halted by the government. Also, the mediums in which the information was made public were very minimal.  There are many other events that occurred during World War I, World War II, The Cold War, Vietnam, etc. that were not made public as well due to the lack of technology in that era.

In more recent years, a new dawn of technology has signed the beginning of the Tech Age as well as the information Era. These new technological discoveries have further allowed us to transfer information liberally and have also given us the privilege of instant access to information that would otherwise have been difficult or tedious to find in the past. With improvements in technological development, such as the internet, we now have new global platforms that further enable and enhance the flow of information.

We saw the amazing impact of the Web 2.0 technological age on the fateful day of September 11, 2001.  The new millennium called for the drastic cell phone advancement from bulky older versions to a new PDA form.  The advantages of this transformation really came to light when doomed passengers were able to make one more phone call home on their descent.  Also, real-time coverage about the day’s events was available instantaneously for the world to follow.  Unlike the decades prior, we did not have to wait for the evening news or rely on word of mouth information about the attack.  Americans could simply turn their television on, tune into their radio, call someone on their cell phone or access the internet from their PC or smart phone to keep up with ongoing news that day.  While this was beneficial to the average American that wanted to be informed, it proved especially pivotal for family members that had loved ones working in the buildings that were attacked.

Every major advancement in society comes with its consequences.  While the technology era has birthed an easier way of living and communicating, the new wave of innovations came with a downside characterized by the improper usage of this knowledge via the media. Nowadays the media is manipulated all the time; these negative effects often come from lobbies that push political agendas or use inaccurate sources.  It is hard to determine what is credible on the web today due to the fact that almost anyone can access it.  Even with the disadvantages that come along with the new technology enhanced media, events such as September 11th prove the importance of getting accurate information in a timely manner.

Sasha De Vecchi, Lindsay Gallagher, Jay Reilly, Cary Welborn

15 thoughts on “Remember When…We Didn’t Live in a Web 2.0 World?

  1. This is very interesting. The sentence that reads, “Every major advancement in society comes with its consequences” had me thinking. It was like a dominoes effect in my mind, with anything from the Internet, to fast food that came to mind. The credibility is what bothers me the most as a “consequence” of the internet. As accessing the internet is the most convenient way to do quick research, it can be frustrating trying to find a reliable source. ‘I remember when’ Wikipedia wasn’t just whatever John Doe decided to express that day, but rather a fairly dependable source to make use of. It was allowed in school as a basis back in Junior High, but maybe that’s a whole different can of worms. Regardless I do remember when we didn’t live in a Web 2.0 World, when life was a little more simplistic. But thank goodness for complicated too!

  2. September 11th hit very close to home with my family because my Dad worked in the Pentagon. I know on a first-hand basis how important the immediate coverage of the terrorist attacks were to families like mine in distress about our loved ones. The immediate availability of the news coverage kept us both calm and alert. I can not imagine NOT living in a Web 2.0 world because the speed of coverage has saved a lot of lives and worries. But while saying that, I do agree that the media has exploited itself by accepting political and financial offers that change the way the news is reported. Where did true and honest journalism go? Every network claims to have the most accurate and honest information yet they all tell different stories. The Web 2.0 world we live in today has left it up to us, the viewers and readers, to determine what we think the “real” truth is.

    • I cannot imagine growing up in an era without the advanced technology we have now. A world without smart phones, let alone cell phones, is a foreign concept. The accessibility of information through technology has allowed people to stay connected and informed even in times of distress. I think that the manipulation of information through media is unfortunate, however when weighing the advantages I think the consequence is minimal. People are becoming more aware of how to decipher information to determine what is or is not true. I think the Web 2.0 helps more than it hinders!

  3. I remember when my family got our very first desktop computer with dial-up internet. It was a huge, bulky piece of equipment, and took almost 30 minutes to connect to the internet. In comparison to the devices we have today, such as smartphones, tablets, and 4g wireless internet connections, that old computer seems like it was from the Stone Age. It’s amazing how quickly our world has been shaped by new technological advances. In an instant, we are now able to receive anything from breaking news stories to what the weather will be like as we walk to our next class. I think it is safe to assume that as the demand for faster access to the web and the constant need for instantaneous information, we can expect new innovative technological resources to develop.

  4. I don’t find the example of September 11 to be a good example at all of a society with “Web 2.0.” In fact it has almost nothing to do with it. The Internet was still very much emerging, think about it — YouTube didn’t even exist then. You mention turning on a PC for news or a checking a smart phone — in 2001 most people still had dial-up and online news wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today. Smart phones (if they even existed) certainly weren’t big at all. Even wireless Internet wasn’t a big thing.

    In addition, Web 2.0 was not really used at all on Sept 11. Web 2.0 refers to using and creating dynamic websites instead of just static html sites. Or in other words it’s about users being able to change websites and edit information. Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube and blogs are all examples of this. Web 2.0 does not include cell phone calls, TV, or radio as the article seems to imply. Some of these Web 2.0 staples didn’t exist in 2001 (Facebook, YouTube), or had just gotten started that year and were not even close to widely used (Wikipedia). It’s tough to make a convincing argument about “the amazing impact of the Web 2.0 technological age” when hardly any aspects of Web 2.0 existed at all — not even Myspace. Instead September 11 had more to do with 24 hour news coverage — not Internet.

    The last paragraph brings up some interesting points, but the Sept 11 is a very poor example.

  5. It is practically impossible for me to imagine how different September 11th would have been without access to technology. So many families depended on the news and the Internet to either find a loved one or even discover what was happening. I believe that our society has become addicted to technology and I agree that it has its advantages and disadvantages. Being so close to election time, i am seeing much more of the disadvantageous side of technology and media. So many messages in advertisements and commercials are being twisted and stretched as far as possible in hopes of changing someone’s mind. It’s all around pathetic in my opinion.

  6. I agree completely with this post. It is great that one can simply pull out a cell phone to capture something huge for the world to see. Yet, when faced with how to present these findings to the world, almost everything could be misconstrued. If I wanted the actual facts of an event or happening, I would have no clue where to look. Let’s face it, we can’t trust news, radio, or anything on the web… So how do we know what “really” happened?

  7. It’s crazy to think how over just a short amount of time technology has increased so drastically that it almost consumes our lives. I remember having just one computer the whole family used and it was a big gateway desktop. Today people have macbooks, iphones and ipads. People are constantly staying connected to the internet through phones and people look at twitter and the internet for news instead of watching the 6 o’clock news. Media has influenced many negative things, but technology will always have new products coming out which makes it easier for the media to get to people. I always wonder after I read a news story if it’s completely true or not.

  8. “Every major advancement in society comes with its consequences” This quote couldn’t be more true! While we have advanced technologically, our improvements have been taken advantage of by politics, corporations, and many individuals. For instance, we have probably all heard that FOX news is a channel greatly influenced by Republicans. Because we know this, it is hard to tell if the information we’re receiving is true or not because of the bias. Another example would be Wikipedia. Anyone can go on this site and change the results you’ll find when entering in a certain search. At this moment it woulod be almost impossible to watch your favorite TV show without a campaign ad about Obama or Romney. All of these commercials are carefully planned to try and get it’s audience to agree with their point.We have to be careful as to what we believe and remember that the media does not always reflect what is true!

  9. Thank you everyone for your comments to our post. We appreciate your enthusiasm. In regards to comments that suggest that September 11th did not occur during the Web 2.0 phenomenon, we have some arguments that suggest otherwise. First of all, we would like to start off by saying the term “Web 2.0” is one that is based on technological advances made over the past decade or so that is open to interpretation. It is not a concrete concept, yet a way to categorize these technological advances made since the beginning of a new millennium. While outlets such as Facebook and YouTube are definite advances that occurred during this era, they are in no way sole characteristics that define what it means to be part of the Web 2.0 category. There are many other facts to analyze such as the move from Netscape to internet search engines, advancements in information sharing via the internet, social media development, and user-generated content just to name a few. 9/11 possesses all of these Web 2.0 qualities. We agree that if 9/11 were to happen today, there would be many more Web 2.0 qualities attributed to it, but that does not mean that many (not all) of them were not present then. While we realize that some people may not categorize 9/11 as a Web 2.0 event because it doesn’t have all the characteristics of the Web 2.0 world, our research led us to unanimously agreeing that it indeed was. Also, although YouTube was not invented until 2005, that does not mean that it is not included in the 9/11 mediums used for press. If you log in to YouTube today and simply type “9/11” into the search box, you will receive roughly 1,070,000 results. Also, the first smartphone was invented by IBM in 1992 and was very much advanced by the following decade when 9/11 occurred. We do not argue that there have been many advances in cell phones since 2001, but smartphones were readily available to the public then. These days we have iPhones that pretty much do the thinking for us. This might not have been the case on 9/11, but we can say that there were many PDAs being used by the American population. Finally, I will end our argument that we stand by our post because when thinking of 9/11, we all collaborated on the idea that it was one of the first terrorist attacks of such an enormous magnitude where information was so readily available. People did not have to wait until the evening news to get the information they wanted, which was the case in the years prior. No, we are not declaring that 9/11 was the very first worldwide event that boasted the convenience of technology, but it was one of the first in America. We find 9/11 to be very relevant to our post for this very reason. Once again, thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. Your input is very much appreciated.

  10. I really related to this post and how instantaneous news has become since the birth of the technological age. I never realized it until recently when I lost one of my best friends from high school in a tragic hit and run. I first heard the news of his death via Facebook and while reading this post it just registered with me that had I not had a Facebook it would have taken me so much longer to find out since I am no longer home where his family is located. It was amazing to see how quickly his friends and family from all around the world were commenting about him or posting picture on his wall in memory of him. Without the use of the internet, none of that would have been possible. I also witnessed the fact that their are downsides to living in such a technological era when the story of his death began to get twisted into different stories on daily basis. I think that the internet has allowed us to become less credible about the knowledge we posses and therefore can relate in us becoming misinformed.

  11. I agree with this post to a certain extent. The idea of having accurate news coverage provided for us almost instantly especially when tragedy strikes couldn’t be more beneficial and thankful. However, is events like today when the United States Ambassador to Libya was tragically killed and various news coverage showed a picture of him being dragged by Libyans not knowing if he were alive or dead in the picture I think is complete disrespect to his family. Therefore, the idea of Web 2.0 is a fantastic feature in keeping the world updated on current events, however when it’s taken too far like the ambassador, I do believe a line needs to be drawn.

  12. Technology is involved in an ever changing process. I feel like every time I hear about a new type of phone or computer it is only a few short months later that the same company has come out with a more improved version of the same thing. For example, take Apple; now a days almost everyone has an iphone. There are already many different versions of the iphone and another is soon to be released. While some people think having so much technology 24/7 at your finger tips can be seen as a bad thing many have found it hard to live without. Rather then just being able to call or email someone on your phone everyone is now able to check the weather, take videos, and watch movies. It is crazy to watch how rapidly technology grows, but, with in the society we live in today where the reliability on technology is so high I guess companies have to constantly improve themselves to keep up in this “tech era”.

  13. I this idea that has been construed between the relationship of the 9/11 crisis and our instant technology today is very interesting. In today’s society we are glued to our smart phones 24/7 to check our notifications on Facebook, Twitter, Email, text messages, etc. We have to be connected to the world around us at all times. The phrase, “Every major advancement in society comes with its consequences”, is a very strong concept that really makes you think. I’m sure every American can back me up by saying we are very lucky and grateful to have this instant technology when crisis does occur. It is important to us to be able to know where our friends and family are, and if they are okay in the event of an emergency. Today people really rely on the internet to stay connected. Just recently a high school acquaintance of mine unfortunately was killed in a tragic car accident. Because of facebook; instantly my high school class knows what had happened, and we now have the opportunity to instantly connect to the friends and family of this young women. Although there are downfalls to the rapid rate technology is progressing, I believe for the most part everyone is thankful that we now have the opportunity to contact someone instantly if we really need to.

  14. Although I do like to think of myself as being “young” and at this point in my life I feel like Facebook has been around forever, I do remember when we didn’t live in a “Web 2.0” world. You guys really brought up some great points and ideas to get my brain thinking deeper and deeper as I kept reading. I might argue that smartphones were not around yet in 2001, but I do think that the tragedies of 9/11 are the perfect starting point or key event in history to mark the extreme transformation in media and almost a takeover for media outlets. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was at home, playing hooky from elementary school, sitting on my couch watching television (I believe I was watching Spongebob, know for a fact the channel was nickelodeon). I heard my garage door opening and I started to panic because I thought it was my angry mom coming home to ruin my Ferris Buehler day off. About that time whatever I was watching on television cut to a news room. My step-father ran in the house screaming, “Turn on the tv, turn on the tv, the world trade center has been hit!” At the time I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was, but to see him act like this and for nickelodeon to cut out on Spongebob like that I knew it had to be serious. I know it sounds like a joke, but that is seriously the first time I had ever seen a show just stop completely because of breaking news. From that day on in my life, media and social networking has never been the same. If technology advances so rapidly as it is now, then we can only wonder what it is going to be like for our kids and their generation.

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