Monday, March 17, 2008

The future is not here yet

On September 11, 2001, my mom called and woke me up to tell me what was happening. For some reason, likely shock, my first thought was to go to the web. It took over ten minutes of searching before I found a buried Yahoo! story referring to NYC's "once majestic skyline." At that point, I turned on the TV and like everyone else was there for the next several hours.

Since then, networked media has become personal, local, and ubiquitous. I've come to expect, as have many others, that citizen journalists will be the front line defense in flu outbreaks or terrorist attacks.

So I'm sad to report that at least today in San Francisco, one of the most networked cities in the world, old-school news sources still get there first, and slowly at that.

  • I looked out the window about 30 minutes ago and saw a giant plume of yellowish grey smoke rising from the Mission.
  • I went on Google News and did several searches for "San Francisco and fire" -- no updates
  • I checked my local Facebook network,, and SFist - no news
  • After 20 minutes of occasional searching online, I heard news helicopters overhead -- I turned on the TV and saw the "breaking news" report from an SF local news station.

As expected, the cause was a big house fire, not a terrorist attack or "airborne toxic event." But it saddened me to realize how slow our media sources really are, or might be, the next time something more serious happens.

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