From the excitement of the Superbowl to the never-ending coverage of the Royal Wedding, Tweets, status updates, and ‘likes’ reigned supreme. That was all until the U.S. Navy Seals located and killed Osama bin Laden, causing a mass inundation of posts on social media sites.
Over 50% of the internet users polled received news of bin Laden’s demise through social media websites. Of the 20,000 people surveyed 30% received notice on Twitter, 20% found out through Facebook, and only 17.4% heard news on TV.
Social media coverage of Osama’s death surpassed both the amount of tweets about the Royal Wedding and Superbowl. During President Obama’s speech Sunday night, specialists recorded over 5,000 Twitter posts per second! The spike in tweets during this event can be blamed on users curiosity in other reactions and for the live stream of information.
Computer technician, Shohaib Athar, unknowingly posted his observations of the U.S. mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan through Twitter. Shohaib Athar described the helicopter that landed in Osama’s compound when he tweeted, “Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter :-/.” Following a few tweets displaying his annoyance with disturbing helicopters around his home, Twitter geeks caught on after the death of Osama bin Laden was announced. Soon after, Shohaib Athar gained 14,000 followers.
News broadcasters speculate the “gruesome picture” of Osama bin Laden will be released today. Whether or not President Obama decides to release this photo is not certain. What is certain is that the social media will continue to be the dominant interface used for news dissemination, but please be cautious of scams and virsuses circulating falsehoods of bin Laden’s death photos and videos.