Unless you have been totally disconnected from any sort of news over the past 12 hours, you’ve no doubt heard that Osama Bin Laden has been found and killed. Barack Obama, President of the United States, made the announcement late last night, but wasn’t the first one to break the story to a lot of people. Most people who are active on Twitter (and who weren’t asleep at the time) first heard the news through the popular social network where it spread like wildfire.
I first saw tweets about Bin Laden’s death start sometime around 10:30pm(EST). At first no one was sure if this was true or just an internet hoax that was taking off, but by about 10:45pm(EST) most of the TV channels had switched to some sort of coverage about it, so I knew it was real. From there, the tweets just kept on coming. By 11:30 Barack Obama had come on TV to address the world and tell us all what had happened.
Around 11:45pm(EST), just as Obama’s address was finishing, I decided to check MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, to see just how much the word had spread through social media. Although I didn’t think to take a screen shot of what I saw, I did tweet out the info I found and it looked like this:
I continued to track the progress of how the talk about Bin Laden exploded throughout the night from the time of the announcement and it went like this:
I then had to finally go to sleep, but I woke myself up at 4am(EST) just to see how the talk had progressed with it now being 9am(GMT) in London, meaning that most people around the world would have now heard the news.
I then went back to sleep and woke up again around 8am(EST) and started tracking the talk again.
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.
Some other interesting things that I noticed was that people were making jokes about Foursquare leading to the finding of Bin Laden. As time went on, people started started using Foursquare to check into places associated with the death of Bin Laden. Some people were checking in to the location where Bin Laden was found, while others were checking in to a “Post Osama Bin Laden World”.
By 10am(EST) this morning I was able to find 11,570 tweets that made reference to Foursquare and Bin Laden or were check-in’s tweeted out that were related to Bin Laden.
Just on an interesting side note, to see a little bit more about who was making these tweets, for the first time ever, I’m proud to debut one of our upcoming new features, the gender breakdown for Twitter. This is a new feature to Sysomos which has not been released into the public version of our system yet that uses a library of names to help determine the gender of Twitter users. According to our analysis 63% of tweets about Bin Laden came from males while the other 37% were female. Watch out for this new feature coming soon.
If this event isn’t proof of just how quickly social media can be used to spread news, I don’t know what is.
Where were you when you heard the news? How did you hear the news? Was it through social media? Leave us a comment and let us know.