Way back when, on 9/11, I was stunned and disappointed to see the poor performance of the Internet. In the midst of the most major and heinous attack ever launched on U.S. soil, the Internet more or less folded. In contrast to the 24x7 infrastructure that kept television news going, even in the physical midst of the chaotic aftermath of the attacks, the Internet news sites more or less collapsed, and messaging services seemed to all but stop.. About the only Internet source for news was AOL's Instant Messaging news service, and there wasn't much there. So it was heartening this week to see a much-improved news and messaging presence after the horrible subway and bus attacks in London this week.
Not that anyone, least of all I, should be pleased about terrorist attacks, but many of us have given up on television and radio and moved our eyes and ears to the Internet to keep pace with the world. Absence of information about what is going on through our chosen medium is disastrous, and so yes I'm glad for the fact that the London attacks proved the worth of my favorite source of information.
Text messaging, which also served the affected community well during last year's Southeast Asian Tsunami disaster, kept Londoners informed, and help on the way to trouble spots throughout the aftermath of the attacks (see Text Messaging Prevailed In Wake Of London Blasts). That's also encouraging because it means that cellular telephone networks have become more robust and able to withstand heavy traffic loads and adverse physical conditions, something they are not at all famous for.
So, don't be of good cheer about the attacks, but do be of good cheer about the Internet. Its potential for serving society has been touted about for over a decade, and it's about damned time it started doing that job.