Washington Post Uses #wherewereyou Twitter Hashtag to Commemorate 9/11

In a tasteful display of using social media to commemorate a tragedy, the Washington Post’s #wherewereyou hashtag made its way around the Twitter-verse this weekend to get users to share where they were on September 11th, 2001. The semantics of the tag itself and the poignancy of the event that is still fresh in many American’s memories no doubt contributed to the outpouring of responses originating from the Washington Post’s Twitter page, but Nieman Journalism Lab points out that the very nature of digital media has caused the hashtag to shift in meaning and begin documenting other sentiments as well. The call for 9/11 memories on Twitter reflects not only the nation on a day of mourning and remembrance, but also the way digital media is both perpetuating and changing history.

The hashtag was an experiment in reaching out, inclusiveness, and retaining a historical memory of an event etched into the minds of many Americans and people around the world. The Washington Post published a blog post and tweeted on September 10th, asking its readers to share where they were when they first heard about the attack. The newspaper asked that recollections be collected together using the hashtag #wherewereyou. This resulted in hundreds of responses, and saw #wherewereyou rocket to a trending topic in the DC area and eventually around the world.