Sunday, September 11, 2011

A look back at 9/11 and blogging

Today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Those attacks helped fuel the rise of blogs.

In April 2002 we visited New York City. It was the first time I had ever been in New York City except in airports and train stations. We went specifically to see Ground Zero. (And also the play QED at the Lincoln Center starring Alan Alda as Richard Feynman.) It was after returning from that trip that I discovered blogs, as I wrote about in this post.

In that post I wrote about two bloggers, Megan McArdle and Glenn Reynolds. Both are now well known bloggers. Megan McArdle blogs at The Atlantic. Glenn Reynolds blogs at Instapundit.

Megan McArdle started blogging in November 2001. She joined Mindles H. Dreck on a blog called Asymmetrical Information. (Mindles H. Dreck is undoubtedly a pen name. I don't know anything about him or her.) Dreck started the blog in October 2001. From Dreck's first post on 10/2/01: "About me: I'm in the money management business. My offices are a few blocks from the former World Trade Center. Like many 'warbloggers' I read, my proximity to this historic event is one of the reasons I'm recording my thoughts." (source, scroll to bottom)

Ms. McArdle's first posts were on 11/23/01, under the pen name Jane Galt. From one of her posts that day:

Now to introduce myself. I am, it seems, the epitome of our new century. I'm 28, just graduated from one of the top business schools in the world, and just had my job offer rescinded by a management consulting firm. In the interim, I have obtained a job with a construction company working on the WTC disaster recovery site. No, I don't work on "the pile" (as it is known here, despite the fact that they are already working below ground level) -- I work in a trailer across the street, doing everything from handing out security passes, to database design, to typing letters. Unfortunately, I can't offer any great insights, or even good gossip, about the site -- first, because they don't tell me anything, and second, because relating what I do hear could cost me my job. So no great insights. But possibly interesting trivia.

In my post referenced above I quoted from her blog post on 4/27/02 when she wrote about having been at the WTC recovery site for seven months, and asking "do you remember?" about things that had happened during those seven months.

Glenn Reynolds starting blogging in August 2001, one month before 9/11. His blog took on a new focus after 9/11. He recently looked back at that experience. Start with this short post that he published last night. Then read this article at posted yesterday: Attacks gave rise to Instapundit blog. And finally watch the 5 minute video by Glenn Reynolds at the bottom of the knoxnews article.

From the knoxnews article:

In an August video marking the 10th anniversary of his blog, Reynolds said, "The beauty of blogging goes on, as the kind of technology that made it possible for me to start Instapundit makes it possible for people to do all kinds of independent punditry and journalism today."

And that may be the most unintended of consequences of the terrorists whose aim was to strike fear in the hearts of Americans.

P.S. Happy birthday, Brian!

UPDATE 9/12/11: Megan McArdle posts some thoughts about the events of 9/11/01. "Without 9/11...I would not have started blogging."