Where were you when you heard about Osama?

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Where were you when you heard about Osama, and where did you hear it?  As my daughter and I watched television and then immediately jumped to Twitter, we talked about where we were when historic events happened, and more importantly, how we found out about them.

Yes, last night we were watching Celebrity Apprentice (did Hope get axed?) when the Breaking News announcement said that the U.S. had captured Osama Bin Laden  But it was on Twitter that we found out in just a few key strokes, that not only was he captured, but he was also dead.  And that DNA would substantiate the identity.  And that a helicopter firestorm took him out.  All in advance of the “Breaking News”.  News knows no boundaries.  I find it just as easy to check out Al Jazeera for their take on the situation as I do The Guardian.  A tweet holds as much power as a “Breaking News” interruption.  It seems that Twitter reached more than 4,000 posts per second last night as the President began and ended his speech.

The former chief of staff to Donald Rumsfeld  was the first to tweet about the killing.  Add to that, an unsuspecting neighbor in Abbotabad tweeted about the unusual helicopter presence and sounds of armed conflict while it was actually going on.  He later tweeted  tweeted “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

I remember 9/11 well.  It was early in the morning so most people had just arrived at work or were commuting.  Since Twitter and Facebook didn’t even exist, we had to rely on television, radio and online for up-t0-date reports.  But none of it seemed fast enough for the shock and pain of a country.  Where was George Bush?  How many people were missing in the rubble?  We were shocked and dismayed to hear the cell phone conversations of those on planes headed for the Pentagon and trapped in the upper stories of crumbling buildings.

It seems that our prolonged questions were answered last night in a deadly accurate tweet, followed up by Facebook conversations and earnest reporters trying to add to the story with local color on 9/11.

But the world has adopted the McDonald’s approach to news.  We want it fast, fresh and almost free.



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