Whether you're just waking up to hear the news or you were up late last night, you probably know by now that Osama bin Laden is dead. Hearing the details on the CIA kill mission kind of make the head spin ... what would it have been like to be sent into the home of one of the world's most wanted terrorists to kill him? Heck, how about even being in the neighborhood while this was happening? Well, one guy named Sohaib Athar was. An IT consultant who was visiting Abbottabad, Athar (Twitter handle @ReallyVirtual) tweeted: "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)."
He also tweeted that he heard "huge windows shaking bang," and over the course of several hours, Athar wondered via tweets whether the owners of the helicopters were Taliban or drones, and was suspicious that the crash was connected to breaking news about bin Laden's death. Pretty soon, Athar realized what he had done, tweeting:
Uh-oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.
Wow, crazy! Can you imagine ... but despite being "that guy," Athar wasn't the first to break the news on Twitter. That would have been Keith Urbahn, the former chief of staff to Donald Rumsfeld. He tweeted at 10:25 EST last night:
So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.
So, people. This is Twitter's claim to fame: Serving information-seekers with local, real-time updates about what's going on around the world ... written by real people. It's no surprise that Athar now has 19,000 followers. We want those in the know to get us in the know, and so we "follow."
Admittedly, the second place I heard the news was on my Facebook feed. It's obvious both social networks have taken on a significant role in the news media. When I was discussing the news with my friend on the phone last night, she sighed as she scrolled through her Facebook feed, and said, "This is why print news is dead." I don't necessarily think it's dead, but when a guy can unwittingly become the local star reporter on-the-ground just by tweeting about what's going on outside his house, well, clearly times have changed. And if it means we get and share interesting info about the world quicker, that's great, but there's also something to be said for fact-checking and bonafide accuracy ... two elements we would expect only from the professional news media.
Did you hear the news about Osama bin Laden from Twitter or Facebook?
Image via Twitter