When two hijacked planes hit the twin towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, at 8:46 and 9:03 a.m., most Americans turned to the radio or TV for updates. Few news organizations were prioritizing online reporting—the New York Times had been publishing daily on the web for less than six years—and in 2001, the social internet was still in its early days. Facebook and Twitter were years away.
But one corner of the internet was up and running. Metafilter, the popular community blog, had started up just a couple years before, and as 9/11's events unfolded in real time Metafilter's users turned to the site to discuss and make sense of what they were seeing. That Metafilter page is still online (unlike most of the news stories the users pointed to), and reading through it is a surreal experience. Thirteen years later, this counts as a historical document. Here's how it begins:
Plane crashes in to the word trade center. Apologies for not linking to anything besides the main CNN page but there are no full stories on this yet. The plane crashed into the building about six minutes ago, from what the TV is saying. We are about sixty blocks north and we can see the smoke over the skyline.
H/T Steve Silberman