You may have heard by now...Osama bin Laden is dead. Killed by a US raid in Pakistan. There are a zillion hilarious internet memes exploding on the internet today, too many to keep up with or even pick a favorite. There are also a zillion opinions and feelings circulating...most reminiscent of 9/11. It's honestly the news we never expected to hear after almost ten years.
But the thing I think is so interesting is the significance of Twitter. At first there was zero information besides a little scroll at the bottom of the television screen that President Obama was about to make an important speech (obviously odd news so late on a Sunday evening). I went straight to Twitter to find out what was going on. Many times in the past few years, Twitter--or social media communication in general--has been a quicker source of information than television or radio news, including during February's blizzard. The way we communicate and get information has truly shifted.
I was having a rather lazy Sunday, monitoring my feed pretty closely, and it was a slow day to say the least. Until about 9:30pm. Twitter estimated that there were upwards of 5,000 Tweets per second around the time of the announcement. It started with speculation of what the speech would be about, and then clever jokes and observations continued late into the night. I could barely keep up with my own feed, reading, tweeting and re-tweeting, right up until I saw this one:
"I lost 6 friends on 9/11. u can be cynical, or shit on this moment, but I'd like to say, hey, Jim, Matt, Andy, Clint, Tommy, Tim, we got him"
I'll hold back the name, as they have deleted the tweet since, but I still think it's poignant. My joking and laughing with my boyfriend stopped in it's tracks as I read that tweet, and I decided it was time to go to bed. It was getting late, and there wasn't really anything more to say or learn anyway.
(Photo: Michael Appleton for the NYT, taken in Times Square)