As I got ready to fall asleep, I checked my Facebook for the last time to see the words “Osama Bin Laden is dead.” No way. As I continued to scroll, I quickly realized that the news was correct – and that my friends were broadcasting the breaking news at a viral pace. As I sat, it reminded me of September 11th, the day I received a solemn phone call alerting my family to “turn on the TV.”
As many people in America are celebrating (hopefully reflecting), I decided to examine the way I received the news (and how it was broadcast via social media). I think you will agree with me that traditional media (newspapers, magazines, television) is no longer the primary method of broadcasting news – instead Twitter, Facebook, and blogging are dynamically changing the way we receive content. The death of Osama Bin Laden proves it.
1. Live Blogging the Firefight in Pakistan
Believe it or not, but someone in the mountains of Pakistan was on Twitter when the firefight between US Navy Seals and Bin Laden’s henchmen was taking place. Sohaib Athar (ReallyVirtual on Twitter) had no idea what was happening, yet was tweeting the news in real-time. Take a look at a few screenshots of his tweets below:
2. Bin Laden and the Twitterverse
Before the news hit the U.S. shores, Twitter was buzzing with rumors. Keith Urbahn (Keith Urbahn on Twitter), was credited with breaking the news in the U.S. with the tweet seen below:
By the time President Obama addressed the nation, Twitter had spiked to 4000 tweets per second. Compare that with the record for tweets per second (6,939) which was during the Japanese Tsunami.
3. Facebook Updates & Pages
From the time of Obama’s address until now, the pages “Osama Bin Laden is DEAD” and “Osama Bin Laden is dead 5/11/01” have a combined 500,000 likes. Also, take a look at the viral posting of status updates on Facebook. As I mentioned before, I found out the news through Facebook, so I can attest to the effectiveness of this platform for broadcasting updates.
In conclusion, September 11th was a horrific day, yet in less than ten years, the way we receive news has changed significantly. From phone calls and television, to Facebook and Twitter. How did you receive the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death? Let me know in the comments below!