Following the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, Twitter once again celebrated its CNN-moment. This isn’t its first however, which actually seems to be news to emerging media pundits. The new reality of a real-time world is that news no longer breaks, it Tweets. We are the architects of a new media alert system, TNN – the Twitter News Network. And, because of us, we have set a foundation for which news media can more effectively track, check, and report on breaking stories as they unfold.
When Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual on Twitter) inadvertently live tweeted the Osama Bin Laden raid, the Twitter News Network (TNN) proved once again that it is the live wire for everyday people to break news. When Keith Urbahn @keithurbahn published the first credible report that the U.S. killed Bin Laden, TNN was also the people’s news source. Is it the biggest event in social media? It is among them, but that’s not the point. What it does signify however is that the gap between events and reporting is where Twitter shines as a human seismograph. This is yet another example of the importance of social media and the role it plays in monitoring the pulse of world events.
Twitter isn’t journalism, but it is a perfect beast for committing acts of journalism. Long before the news media or President Obama knew about the details of the events in Pakistan, individuals following @ReallyVirtual, @mpoppel, and @keithurbahn witnessed first hand as the operation developed and the real news emerged.
There are countless stories that already unravel the Tweets to show how Twitter was well, just being Twitter…a conduit for us to share our experiences as we experience them. Instead, I would like to focus on you, me, and how the magic of shared experiences in social “me”dia come alive in what I refer to as the information divide…the space between an event and when media fact check and officially report it.
We are literally making the world a much smaller place. Tied to connectedness, Twitter is equally magnificent at merging reach and velocity. The ability to propel news as reported by everyday people around the world in minutes consistently as wonderful as it is surprising. And if words are a gateway to one’s soul, in the digital realm, they are the portage to insight and analytics. Shortly after the hail of Tweets, Twitter published an interesting data report that demonstrates the breathtaking volume of our ability to share what moves us.
The Bin Laden news peaked at 11 pm EDT with 5,106 Tweets per second (TPS) following the all time TPS high set by NYE 2010 at 6,939 TPS. Most notably, According to Twitter, tThe news event held the highest sustained rate of Tweets to date, hitting 3,000 TPS between 10:45 and 2:20 am, climbing to 38,7 million tweets in just 3.5 hours.
Social media monitoring and analytics platform Sysomos published data that was equally revealing.
In less than 12 hours since the tweeting began we saw almost 40,000 blog post and news articles and an astounding 2.2 million tweets all talking about Osama Bin Laden. As well, while no surprise that people in the US were talking the most about this event a look at our geo-location map shows us that people all over the world were tweeting about the news.
Twitter and social media bestow the average with a platform to become extraordinary – even if for but a moment. We now possess freedom of Tweet, which represents nothing less than the beginning of the end of the era of #commandandcontrol
We will not be silenced.
p.s. Congratulations Will & Kate. While we celebrate in this news, we also celebrate your marriage, your love, and the hope it gives everyone around the world that a market for “happily ever after” does indeed exist.
More on the evolution of news and journalism…
Interview with Dan Farber, Editor-in-Chief of CBSNews.com