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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Where Was I When 9/11 Happened?

September 12, 2011 5 comments

This past week was a time for reflection and remembering those who gave and lost their lives as it was the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A common question during this week: “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” This was also asked in last night’s #tweetnmeet chat led by Erica Mayer. It’s tough to explain in 140 characters the whole experience. As promised, here is my 9/11 story.

I was a student at St. Cloud State University. It was a Tuesday and I was sound asleep when I got a phone call from my Mom. She was emotional and borderline frantic and kept saying “America is under attack!” She told me to turn on the TV and then quickly let me go. I did so and had it on NBC when I saw one of the World Trade Center towers was in smoke. I woke up my roommate Josh who had recently told me he visited New York and saw the Twin Towers. We got ready for the day and watched the coverage as it was unfolding. Minutes later, we both saw the South Tower be hit with a plane. NBC had no idea it was coming, despite it being so clear on the camera angle they had. I can only imagine what the rest of the world was thinking as they saw that plane hook around the corner.

Class time was fast approaching. I was headed to Criminal Justice, which is arguably the most interesting class to have during such a historic and unfortunate event. Oddly enough, Professor Barry Schreiber had a terrorism expert in to speak to the class. The coverage was on the big screen in the auditorium. 15-20 minutes into the class, we saw the South Tower fall. There was a sudden silence followed by the ooh’s, ahh’s, and astonishment at what we had seen. Immediately after that, the terrorism expert began discussing what would come next. She was rather spot on in predicting who was responsible, air travel would be forever changed and that we would see germ warfare including anthrax become part of the mix.

29 minutes later, the North Tower collapsed.

Rumors around gas prices increasing and additional attacks began to run rampant. Even in St. Cloud, MN, people feared being attacked. I lived in Sherburne Hall, the tallest building north of Minneapolis in Minnesota. People had a fear that a plane would hit our dorm building. I immediately found that preposterous. It shows the fears and panic this event created even 1,261 miles away. Some people criticized me about my thoughts on a terrorist attack happening in St. Cloud as Zacarias Moussauri, who was later rumored as a replacement for one of the 9/11 hijackers or an attacker in a future terrorist attack, was arrested in St. Cloud in August, weeks before the attack.

Classes were cancelled after 5pm, which did not impact me. However, my freshman english teacher allowed class to leave rather quickly. I went back to my dorm and was glued to the TV. We then found out about Flight 93 and the attack on the Pentagon. I am a junkie for news. Events such as this, I was constantly flipping between NBC, CBS, CNN, and ABC. Just imagine how things would be so different if Twitter and Facebook were around along with smart phones. I truly believe that fewer people would have died had people been able to communicate at the speed we do in 2011.

Later in the day, I started getting calls from friends wondering if I was available to go with them to fill up on gas. I did this a few times and was stunned by the lines that existed throughout the city.

Many people still say that 10 years later, the enjoyment in air travel is diminished and more stressful than ever. I never flew before 9/11. All I know is the post-9/11 way of flying. Post-9/11, there is little different in the way I live and how I conduct myself. This generation and each one that follows knows this way of life as the norm.

Ten years later, I appreciate the magnitude of the event more than I did as a college student. I understood how big it was then, but likely did not fully comprehend the fall out that would and still is coming.

That’s my 9/11 experience. Care to share yours?
Jason

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Minneapolis, St. Paul, Thank You! Now, Let’s Collaborate!

March 18, 2010 5 comments

Yesterday was one of the more interesting and fulfilling days I have had as a professional. Most of us know about #Unfollowgate. If not; check out my previous post on #Unfollowgate and its impact on the Minneapolis and St. Paul online community.

Between the hundreds of views, 18 comments, numerous public tweets, re-tweets, even more direct messages, and even some text messages and calls, the outpouring of support for me was astonishing. Thank you all very much for that.

I want to get away from #Unfollowgate and move onto the larger issue: how to make the Minneapolis and St. Paul online community more collaborative, more unified, and considered as a true leader in the online marketing space.

I have been going over what Chris Brogan said when he was here at the Minnesota Business/Reputations event, about our shortcomings as a community. It would have been easy for him to say ‘Minneapolis/St. Paul, y’all are great! Keep Truckin’!’ for a cheap pop. He did not do that, and I thank him for that. For him to say (paraphrasing) ‘you have the talent here, you don’t have the collaborative atmosphere’, and to call out Pittsburgh as his numer one community was gutsy. He travels and connects with enough people from each community where I trust his opinion more than others.

This should be a wake up call for our community. We do have the talent, we have the case studies, we have the clients, we have the passion (as was shown yesterday). How do we combine all that and more to help our community move to the head of the online marketing class?

Let’s start a discussion answering a few questions. As a community:

  • What are we doing right?
  • What are we doing wrong?
  • What are your concerns about the state of online marketing?
  • What do we want to do?
  • Where do we want to go?

Minneapolis, St. Paul, metro area, Minnesota: your thoughts?