The evening of Sunday, May 1, 2011, will be marked as a great day in our nation’s history. At 10:45 p.m. ET the major news networks broke through regular programming to confirm the news, and just before midnight on the east coast President Obama addressed the nation.
But, for anyone within arms reach of their computer, iPad or mobile device, confirmation came twenty minutes earlier when Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sent out the following 77 characters:
So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.
I’m connected to my Hootsuite iPhone app at the hip; so it’s ironic that I missed this unfold as I was on a plane to Denver from San Diego. However, as we drove home from the airport I was reading the updates from Twitter out loud as my fiancé was struggling to get a mobile news website to load so that he could read it for himself. Twitter was moving so fast, and the mix of official updates and raw emotion gave me goose bumps—as did the pictures people began posting to Facebook of President Obama addressing the nation. A few tweets that I can’t stop thinking about include:
9/11 widow on my flight. In tears. Comforted by entire cabin. Life altering event to see (@jimformanKING5)
So when Obama said last week he had ‘better stuff to do’ than talk about his birth certificate… Yeah. (@ewstephe)
As a New Yorker, as an American, thank you to the 2340 coalition soldiers (1400+ American) lost and 11,000+ wounded in the last 10 years. (@anildash)
Happy at the news tonight, but also feeling compelled to tweet variations of “let’s remember most Muslims are peaceful & reasonable people.” (@kristenhowerton)
In the weeks ahead the traditional news organizations will examine every aspect of the successful mission carried out by the incredibly brave men and women of American’s armed forces. Public relations industry outlets will explore the impact of Osama Bin Laden’s death on social media vs. broadcast and print mediums.
It’s an exciting moment to be an American, and to be a tiny part of the communications industry that will dissect and deliver the news around the world with the click of a mouse.