By Katie Funk and Ben Spielberg
Last night, Abbottabad, Pakistan resident @Reallyvirtual posted “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” He didn’t realize at the time, but he was tweeting about Obama’s attack on Osama Bin Laden before it was confirmed by any authorities or reported by any news sources. Before Obama even spoke publicly, most of the world already knew what was going on, and about 50% of that population found out through logging onto their Twitter and Facebook profiles.
Within just 24 hours, @Reallyvirtual had unintentionally increased the number of his followers by over 60,250. Malcolm Gladwell has apparently been proved wrong about in his essay “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” People are increasingly dependant on social media for news and up-to-date information, and are freed from relying on only the previously used methods of communication, such as the radio and television. As individuals, we have all been given a voice that we have never had access to before—we have the same power as any major news network. It’s just a matter of time and the right circumstance before people actually start listening.
But why listen to some guy who has nothing better to do at 1AM than to complain to 750 followers about a helicopter? What makes his tweet more significant than anyone else’s? Twitter is in fact filled with thousands of seemingly meaningless tweets that contribute something to our society. Sometimes, we fail to realize that they are actually of utmost value. In @Reallyvirtual’s case, Twitter allowed him to report live a world-changing event both before any major news stations reported it, and also from a perspective that otherwise would not be possible were it not for Twitter. Maybe Gladwell was right; the revolution will not be tweeted. The revolution is Twitter.
- Twitter User Unknowingly Tweeted The Live Attack On Osama Bin Laden’s Compound! (q104.radio.com)
- Osama bin Laden’s death, Twitter fame and malware (securitybloggersnetwork.com)
- One Twitter user Live blogs from Osama Bin Laden’s raid (chatootsboots.wordpress.com)