online journalism

Osama bin Laden dominates social media for (hopefully) one last time

Osama bin Laden, Taliban leader

Dubbed one of the world’s greatest terrorist masterminds, Osama bin Laden was finally “taken out of the picture” in Pakistan on May 2nd, 2011 by U.S. Navy SEALs in a special operation approved by President Barack Obama.

When I heard of the news in the late hours of May 1st, early morning of May 2nd, I couldn’t believe it. The men that I had truly learned to fear as a ten-year old, the first REAL bad guy was finally gone. I became excited at first but then fearful, one person does not control all of the evil in the Taliban. If one person controlled societies and groups then a lot of different people and groups would be non-existent today.

Regardless of my personal opinion on the death of bin Laden—I waited as long as I could to write this post to make it as un-biased as I possibly could—the first news of his death came from none other than Twitter.

Twitter has been kicking butt in regards to releasing important information, video, and photographs of important events in history as well as breaking news stories first. It is still somewhat debatable about who exactly broke news of bin Laden’s death first—Donald Rumsfeld’s Chief of Staff Keith Urbahn is credited as the first reliable source to break the news—it fired up Twitter users which then jumped on over to Facebook—probably due to the Twitter app on Facebook that connects the two.

Mashable image of bin Laden tweet analysis

Mashable just recently released an article and visual of how bin Laden’s death “exploded on Twitter.” The image has been rapidly re-printed on various news sources showing the impact that social media and micro-blogging sites are having on connecting “ordinary citizens” with their news on different levels never reached before.

President Obama received some criticism for not announcing the death sooner since it was already “leaked” on Twitter, but in a world which is highly dependent on technology and the Internet, it was a smart move on Obama’s part to ensure that his statements and information were 100% correct, especially with news as significant as that.

As people weighed in on the history-making news on Twitter and Facebook, bin Laden’s supporters were thinking of their own ways to affect the world stage with their own media devices, whether it be a mass video or supportive blogs/e-mails/websites/commentary. Compared to when bin Laden dominated headlines after 9/11 almost 10 years ago, it is quite interesting to see the advances and differences that his latest headline has on the media and it’s audience.

Hopefully he won’t be dominating them too much longer, and both the U.S. and the Middle East can move past this horrible man.

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One thought on “Osama bin Laden dominates social media for (hopefully) one last time

  1. I personally love twitter. I am so happy my journalism course sophomore year forced me to sign up, because I have used it frequently ever since. I used to think it was creepy and just another way to micro-creep on what people were doing. Now I understand that I can follow whomever and whatever I want to get all the news I am interested in first, while blocking out the garbage I don’t really care about. I think it was a great invention and I am glad at least one networking site is able to give Facebook some competition, even if it might not be much. Who knew it would become a dominating social networking outlet known for releasing important information first? NOT ME.

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