Twitter has become an increasingly important method of breaking and delivering news, and yesterday it had its biggest moment yet. Osama bin Laden's death was first reported on the social media service, tweeted by both an in-the-know former political aide and an unwitting IT consultant. Keith Urbahn, once chief of staff to Donald Rumsfeld, has been credited with the big scoop. He tweeted: "So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn." Urbahn turned out to be right, but the Atlantic notes that he wasn't the first person to break the story.
That person was Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual), who lives in Abbottabad and tweeted yesterday, "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)." Also:
"Since Taliban (probably) don't have helicopters, and since they're saying it was not "ours," so must be a complicated situation." He continued updating his Twitter feed, eventually posting, "A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S." After he learned bin Laden had been killed, he wrote, "Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.” Writes Greg Sandoval on CNET, "tonight's news was by far the weightiest story that Twitter has ever helped break." (Read more Osama bin Laden stories.)