I’m swamped today, but until I get a real post written about last night here’s a recap of what twitter looked like before, during and after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a compound in Pakistan.
Before the announcement came, the pre-annoucement of an important message to be broadcast at 10:30 p.m. eastern time, was all over TV. CNN reported that the topic was national security, and when 10:45 came and went, it lit a twitter powder keg, exploding and unleashing the conspiracy theorist in all of us. What could be so important to hold the presser at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night?! Terrorists?! Aliens?! See hashtag #obamaguesses.
9. Keith Urbahn, (not Keith Urban) a former aide to Donald Rumsfeld is being credited for breaking the news first when he tweeted that he’d heard from “a reputable person” that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
8. Trump gets trumped: A tweet from Anton Gunn, former South Carolina statesman and political director for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential primary campaign in South Carolina, while we all waited anxiously.
6. An hour after the scheduled announcement, President Barak Obama officially announces what has already become a worldwide trending topic on twitter: The US has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
5. DrunkenPredator takes credit, but we quickly find out that it was a ground operation. In a press briefing Monday morning Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan says, “We were able to monitor the system in real time and have regular updates..not going to go into details…” – leading me to speculate DP may have had a role in the operation after all. Either way it was a good night for someone.
4. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga tweeted from her home planet with no form of communication with earth.
3. Then the parody accounts started:
2. The first reported picture of dead Osama bin Laden surfaces on twitter. It may have popped up somewhere else first, but the first place I saw it was in this post by gun-loving conservative Anne Freeman (@reimagin) who claims Osama has been dead for years and posts a picture she says her son, a Marine, sent her of him already dead. The picture shows a computer screen with a hi-res picture that looks similar to the one already going around Monday morning. Thank goodness for EuroNews et al. for their debunking skills. Gotta be honest though, I thought it was real.
1. One of the first things that turned me on to twitter was how easy it was to document things and have shared conversations with people about events. I think the number one spot has to go to the guy who unknowingly live-tweeted the operation. These are undoubtedly the most historic tweets of the night and maybe even the most historic on twitter.
So next time you see someone tweet, “Wow, the building is shaking. I can’t wait to get out of this class,” don’t roll your eyes; they may be onto something.
His name is Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant, @ReallyVirtual on twitter and has become the twitter go-to guy on Abbottabad, Pakistan and what happened that night.
It’s kind of funny, his twitter bio says he’s “taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops.” Must be a really good hiding place. I wonder if he knew he wasn’t the only one playing hide-and-seek in Abbottabad.
Some excepts of his account here: