Social Media and the Death of Osama bin Laden

Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Public Relations, Social Networking [ 2 Comments ]

As the world learned Sunday evening about the demise of one Osama bin Laden, the social media world, Twitter to be specific, was abuzz.

While the main media outlets like CNN, FOX, NBC and others were reporting of bin Laden’s death, the tweets were flying left and right. Yes, there was even a live play-by-play account of the events taking place halfway around the world.

Many in the social media world now know that Sohaib Athar, 33, was in his home in the early hours Monday when he heard a helicopter flying overhead. Being that this was not a normal occurrence for this time of day, Athar, a computer programmer by trade, took to Twitter and began tweeting.

As time passed by, Athar was unknowingly tweeting about the demise of the world’s number one terrorist.

Athar noted in his own words that he was “the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.” His first tweet read: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” Before he knew it, Athar had acquired some 14,000 followers as he went on to describe the ensuing explosions and firefight he was hearing. With the minutes passing by, Athar was soon being hit with media requests from around the world. In another tweet, Athar indicated that he had a filter to stop his e-mail box from being inundated, so he wasn’t ignoring the queries, he likely was not getting them.

Athar’s tweets grew even more intriguing as time passed, noting “I think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected.”

Eight hours and about 35 tweets later, the confirmation came: “Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Athar remarked. “There goes the neighborhood.”

While some may comment that social media venues such as Twitter really don’t serve a true purpose in the business world and our everyday lives in general, the events that unfolded in one man’s home and on his computer in Abbottabad indicates otherwise.

As a business, don’t ever underestimate the power to reach out to the world through social media.

When all is said and done, you may actually be surprised how many people are listening.

2 thoughts on “Social Media and the Death of Osama bin Laden

  1. Pingback: Listen Up, Because Your Business Depends On It | business ideas 4 you

  2. avatarAma Simone

    I’m a bit confused – were people started to follow Athar real time from when he first heard the helicopter? From other accounts, I was under the impression that until Keith Urbahn tweeted he heard bin Laden was dead, no one was paying too much mind to Athar.

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