The Net Response – Using the Internet in Response to 9/11 – By Steven Clift – 2001

From:            Steven Clift <>
Subject:         The Net Response - What you can do online to help and respond
Send reply to:
Date sent:       Thu, 13 Sep 2001 13:40:51 -0500

                                     -- Please Forward -->

The Net Response

By Steven Clift
Future updates:

During this time of great tragedy now is the time to use
all the tools we have available to help the families of the
missing, the dead and injured survivors.  We need to come
together as communities within our nation and nations
around the world as we respond and care for one another.

You can do something right now via the Internet from your
home and place of work as well as donate blood, money, and
time to relief efforts.  Use the Internet as a simple
communication tool to provide mutual benefit and support to
others in this crisis and help build the bonds required to
deal with what comes next.  Bringing people together and
strengthening the bonds of family, friendship, and
neighbors is step one, online and in-person.

Step two is to use the Internet to gain insight and
understanding on a global basis so we can more effectively
respond and change the environment that motivates terrorism.
While our governments, intelligence operations, and armies
will respond with great force, we as humans can do our part
one person at a time.

The cornerstone of your action is the creation of different
kinds of e-mail group lists. You can create a free e-mail
lists in minutes from websites like YahooGroups
<>, Topica <>, and
others.  An e-mail list allows you to exchange messages
through one e-mail address (i.e.
among a group of members subscribed to the list.  E-mail
can be private or public and lists may be set-up to deliver
one-way announcements or allow open discussion.  If you
create a public e-mail list, send me an announcement that I can share with others.

Take action now by creating an e-mail list for:

  1. Your Family - Create an e-mail group list for your
  extended family.  E-mail lists will help you communicate
  as a family group in an easy and convenient manner.
  Step one is to collect all of your family member
  addresses. You should do this whether this directly
  affected your family or not.

  2. Friends - Create an e-mail list for friends who want
  to provide mutual support to each other and families of
  those who are missing, confirmed dead, or survivors who
  need assistance.  Of course, any group of friends can
  create a list to support the needs of any shared friend
  in any difficult life situation or simply to make group
  contact easy across the country, town, or world.

  3. Neighbors - Whether for the people who live on your
  block, your larger neighborhood or entire town, e-mail
  forums you should build an e-mail list in the common
  interest for community conversation.  These forums are
  technically like all those global special interest
  discussion forums, but instead are local and general in
  nature.  When a community is in crisis, it needs a forum
  that people can turn to for immediate many-to-many
  communication.  At the very local level we need the
  protection of neighbors who communicate with one another
  and the Internet can help break that ice required to
  rebuild the in-person connections required to survive.  I
  run an e-mail list for my neighborhood, so can you.  If
  we see suspicious activity in our neighborhoods, we need
  the bonds to discover and report such activity to the
  appropriate authorities.  Building trust among neighbors
  is a key building block for local safety and security.
  See my related article on Building the Online Commons
  <> for more advice.

  4. Area Response to Attacks - One way to help coordinate
  tributes and the response in your country (many of those
  missing are citizens of many countries), state, or city,
  is to create special e-mail lists for communication among
  those seeking to aid the recovery or those who want to
  respond.  Such forums can be created to deal with local
  issues such as helping traumatized children, organizing
  rallies and memorial services, or dealing with local
  discrimination and acts not in the spirit of domestic

  5. Share News, Information and Views - Through e-mail
  lists like the set up
  voluntarily by Andy Carvin
  <> thousands of
  people are sharing breaking news and in-depth resources
  that allow us to gain deeper insights into what is
  happening.  My own site <>
  provides quick links to additional web-based political
  discussion forums and to government and media sources
  around the world. As the United States and its allies
  develop their response, the Internet will be used on a
  global basis to share news and information unlike never
  before.  This and e-mail lists that you create will allow
  people to communicate directly and unmediated around the
  world.  We will be able to interact directly with those
  in the Middle East and read their news just as they can
  watch and read ours.  Nothing will break down the highly
  propagandistic mass media in some countries or even our
  own as military action is taken.  That is not that point.
  The challenge for us is to use the Internet to build
  direct human connection among the vast majority of
  moderate and reasonable individuals in all countries so
  we can learn as much as we can about the motivations of
  terrorists and how to most effectively attack and cut off
  the support for those organizations and ideologies.

However you respond to recent events, the Internet can play
a useful and practical role.  That said, the Internet is
only a small part of what we all can and should do.  Events
like these help us appreciate our families and friends and
what really matters in this world.  By organizing online we
can more quickly respond to what is next and hopefully help
control our own destiny.

Finally, if you are interested in ways we can use the
Internet to deal with this situation, join my low volume
NetResponse e-mail list and stay tuned for future updates.
To subscribe send a message to
<>. If you are
technically involved in any existing relief, response, or
media efforts or if you want to contribute your ideas,
advanced technical and programming skills, or your
technical infrastructure, join the NetResponse Technical
working group by sending an e-mail to