I experienced something I found surprising, and though the
impact was only one of inconvenience for me (many associated with the events
impacting this communications breakdown lost lives or were severely injured) it
pointed out that it’s incredibly easy to take our communication technology for
granted, especially in the face of unfolding tragedy.
During the course of the day, my home phone service went on
the fritz. No sweat, I picked up the cell phone and called to schedule a
service call. After scheduling a service call, I got a call on the cell from my
friend Steve telling me to turn on the TV because the I35W bridge spanning the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis had collapsed. (I should point out
that I live in a suburb just south of the Twin Cities.) As I tuned into local
TV and checked the radio, my son came through the door to say he had been
calling my cell and was not getting an answer. Turns out the call from Steve
would be my last for awhile. Because of the increased cell traffic due to the
bridge collapse, the system was just plain overloaded. By the way, as a little
icing on the bridge crisis and its related rescue, a large storm complete with lightning
was closing in on Minneapolis.
Wow, totally cut off from talking….but, thanks to my handy
internet, not from seeing, hearing, and writing. A few short months ago I would
have been far too busy to watch what was going on because I would have been
making sure my radio stations were providing the needed information to our listeners.
Now, I’m just another person trying to find information about my town.
Some quick observations…many of the local news stations
offered streaming video online and most were struggling to keep up with the
demand and updating their sites and broadcasts at the same time. Overall the
coverage was very good on air and on line. I was able to watch, listen and blog
all at the same time. I’ve also noted that some really don’t make good “spokespeople”,
looking more freaked than calm and in control, some news anchors really work
hard at stretching for the sensational. (I don’t think we need to start worrying
about every bridge in Minnesota because this one fell. Also, my Google
PDA page on my cell (seems the data is still flowing) showed the first post reported
from an Australian newspaper(?). Kinda weird to see a story dated the next day
that I’m watching unfold. How global can you get?
Here’s a question, I still look to the local broadcast media
first for info. Do those folks younger than me do the same? (Those crazy kids
and that internet deal.)