Where were you when Osama Bin Laden died? That will be the question asked 10, 20, 50 years from now. It will be one for the history books, not only because of the event but also, how it fully exemplified the role of social media on this generation.
Case in point, where was I?
10:20 - I was sitting on my laptop, checking my Twitter feed. The Tweets were along the lines of, "I wonder what Obama will talk about." I cross-check on Huffington Post and find out that Obama will make an address on national security at 10:30.
10:28 - I open the live stream page on Whitehouse.gov. I also go on Facebook and talk to my friend Amanda Waltz. We joke about how perfect it is that Obama is interrupting "Celebrity Apprentice."
10:35 - Obama is late. The first Tweets start coming in that perhaps the news will be about Osama Bin Laden. I don't take it seriously because it's been almost 10 years, like they would really catch him now.
10:45 - Osama Bin Laden is dead but it's unverified, via Twitter. My reaction: "Huh. Interesting. Let's see what happens." I hold my breath. But I'm the only one to. My Twitter wall from exploding in 20 tweets every second. Apparently, the news leaked on Twitter because one more person thought that if you want to keep things private, you should post it on Twitter. That, coupled with the aforementioned theories on what Obama was going to talk about, was enough to get people tweeting.
10:50 - It is confirmed by NYTimes, in a 40-word story. Commence Twitter and Facebook explosion of patriotism and general snarkiness. Obama is still late for his address. I write on Twitter: "Obama probably wanted to find out who got fired on tonight's Celebrity Apprentice."
11:00 - My conversation with Amanda goes something like this:
11:30 - Obama finally makes his speech, everything dies down a bit for 9 minutes.
11:40 - 2 a.m.: Everyone is still on Twitter and Facebook. I reload my Twitter feed every 5 minutes because like a really good Broadway show, I'm completely entranced.
What this means in the 2012 presidential election, for the War on Terror, or just for morale is still up in the air. But one thing is for sure, Twitter had a CNN moment in terms of breaking news. Because while 5 years ago, everyone would have been watching avidly on the television (and some of them, like my family, were), Osama Bin Laden officially trended within seconds of the news being officially verified by the New York Times and CNN. It seemed 140 characters were more than enough.
So where were you when Osama Bin Laden died?