Searching for Strength and Reverence: September 11th, 2001

After finishing a Findability training for Vistage International in New Jersey, we took a moment to pause at lunch and remember the experiences of September 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks took place 14 years ago, yet it feels like it was yesterday.

As I sit in the Newark, NJ airport, I wonder about the chaos that ensued here in 2001. Flights halted, fear everywhere, and feelings of helplessness for so many in NY and across the US.

Members of my group told stories about what they experienced that fateful day. Two people in our small group lost loved ones, another saw people abandon their cars on the George Washington Bridge and run for cover, since bridges and tunnels had been targeted as the next attack zones into NYC.

Another attendee reflected on her job in the adjacent building to the twin towers and saw the entire attack unfold. She recalled watching in total disbelief while tower one and tower two collapsed. She remembered the utter overwhelm everyone in her office faced. They were uncertain if they should leave or stay and felt paralyzed when it came to making a choice. Eventually they decided to leave.

This not only gave me goose bumps, but also made me wonder what the social consciousness of 9-11 is today in America. After 14 years, how do we commemorate the events of that day? And how does this show in our collective consciousness as people use search engines like Google? Let’s take a peek into this psyche.

When I Googled 9-11 what came up? The number 911 is the phone number everyone calls when there is an emergency. It’s the model number of a classic Porsche. And search results brought up images of the September 11th tragedy.

When I refined my search phrase to “September 11th”, I got an interesting vantage point of how people have searched for this event over the past year.

This is how my nerd brain works. As a thought leader in search engine optimization and marketing, I want to connect my blog to the collective consciousness regarding use of search engines. That means I need to consider the entire framework of how people use keyword phrases for this tragic moment in our history.

We see that people are searching for the generic version of September 11th, 9-11, Sept 11, Sep 11 and Nine 11 (similar to 7-11 in concept). Not to be irreverent, but people always go back to what is comfortable and familiar.

Nuances from “September 11th Attacks”, “World Trade Center Attack” at 9,900 searches per month on average, “nine 11 memorial” and “world trade center attacks”.

To the victims and their families, you are still a huge part of our search psyche online. Google images ( also represent a snapshot of each day’s searches. Here are the top three Google images for the commemoration of the quotes for that day.

Google archives and collects data based on the sentiments people express by the way they perform keyword searches. May we never stop searching for answers to this horrifying tragedy. I know I will be forever touched by the events of September 11th. May we never forget…ever.

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