Twitter Post Breaks News of Bin Laden Demise

Image via CrunchBase

[tweetmeme]Once again, a Twitter post was the first to break the news. Several news outlets, including The New York Times in its article “How the Bin Laden Announcement Leaked Out,” credit this tweet at 10:25 pm EST by Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff to former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Obama Bin Laden. Hot damn” as the first news leak.

Soon after the post, according to the Times article, anonymous sources at the Pentagon and the White House started to tell reporters the same information.

The Power of Social Networks

It was extraordinary that Dan Pfeiff, the White House communications director, posted his own tweet at 9:45 announcing. “Potus to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time.” Twitter and Facebook began lighting up with posts in anticipation of the President’s speech to the nation. Soon, the report of Bin Laden’s death was flashing around the world on social networks.

osama bin laden t-shirt (2)

Image by Paul Keller via Flickr

Does anyone still doubt the power of social media? I hope I stop hearing complaints from doubters that they don’t use Twitter because they’re not interested in what someone had for breakfast, or seeing photos of people’s children on Facebook. They are way, way behind the times.

Twitter and Facebook have become so much more than social networks. They are recognized news sources – where journalists often learn the news first, whether it’s about Bin Laden or the devastation wrought by tornadoes and tsunamis.

Come on you non-believers. What will it take for you to get serious about social media?

Leave a Reply


  1. Agreed, Twitter is not about what someone had for breakfast.

    However, comments like these two, which were made on Facebook, go too far, in my opinion:

    “The most influential thing in TV is the button in the remote called ‘Power.'”

    “Mark this day on your calendar. This is the day Twitter made the news networks obsolete.”

    I don’t think so.

  2. Rose — Traditional media will always have a role — they will provide the in-depth analysis that you can’t get on Twitter or Facebook — and, hopefully, an unbiased analysis.

  3. Thanks for that, Jan. Good to know I’m not completely alone in my “old school” thinking.

    Interestingly, an old friend, an ad guy, predicted that secretaries soon would be obsolete when computers came into widespread use in the 80’s. They have only now stopped making typewriters, and secretaries are still very much in demand.

    I rest my case.