Blog Post

On tweeting, anniversaries and collective memory

On tweeting, anniversaries and collective memory

This morning on Twitter, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer has been busily tweeting small snippets of his own memories and commentary from September 11, 2001. Because of his role in the Bush administration, Fleischer spent the day of 9/11 with President George W. Bush, and many of the tweets describe the chaos and conflicting reports on that day.


[Note: this blog software does not seem to allow me to embed tweets. You can find these tweets and others on the feed of @AriFleischer. Here is a direct link.]



Fleischer's account, admittedly shaped by the infrastructure and affordances of Twitter as well as the passing of a decade since the events, could be an entry point for thinking about how collective memory can be presented and re-presented, shared, documented, and claimed. Does knowing what was happening on Air Force One help to bring an understanding of how the events unfolded? To whom, how, and what? By seeing documentation of the day and reading Fleischer's commentary, what can we learn about our own need to understand this, to claim it, to deconstruct it, to participate in this kind of retelling?



[Note: this software does not seem to allow me to embed single tweets. Here is the direct link to this tweet.]


Obviously there are a number of interesting documentary projects related to 9/11, including CMNH's September 11 Digital Archive, the Library of Congress 9/11 Web Archive, and many other efforts. How is (?) this different? What can we learn about the human need to document, to share, to claim, to discuss, to remember?



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