On September 11th 2001 I was on holiday with my wife Cathy and my son Elliot, who was nearly two years old at the time. We had been out to lunch and got back at just after 2pm. Elliot wanted to watch a video, so we switched on the TV to be faced by the shocking, live images of the chaos at the World Trade Center. Only a year or two before I had been sitting in a private dining room at the very top of one of the Twin Towers amazed at the views, the engineering and the fact that the whole of the building swayed gently from side to side. “You get used to it,” one of the waiters told me, “if the building didn’t sway in the wind, it would just snap,” he added. As I sat and watched the unfolding horror I remembered that waiter and with tears in my eyes realised that he was probably dying at that very moment. Even at the age of almost two years old, Elliot clearly realised that something unusual was happening. He gathered some toys and played quietly for several hours without needing any attention from Mummy and Daddy as we sat transfixed in front of the TV.
So, here we are five years later. Elliot is nearly seven years old and is a happy little boy who has just trotted off to school singing and jumping for joy. He is little aware of the changes in the world in his short life time. Most adults, though, are painfully aware of what happened and how it has changed the world. One of the reasons for that is the Internet. In 2001 blogging was only in its infancy – indeed it was roughly the same age as Elliot at the time of 9/11. Since then, blogging has grown up quickly and it was 9/11 that was one of the spurs onwards. Many people wrote blogs about their experiences and feelings. Families produce memorial blogs, victims wrote blogs just as a cathartic action. Nowadays, you will find many people suggesting blogs are a great way to make money online quickly. But as a psychologist I’m acutely aware, especially today, that there is much more to blogging than a device to make money.