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Bin Laden raid was revealed live on Twitter

May 04, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: smart phones, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was unwittingly announced first on Twitter.Bin Laden raid was revealed live on TwitterAn IT consultant, living in Abbottabad, unknowingly tweeted details of the US-led operation as it happened.

Sohaib Athar wrote that a helicopter was hovering overhead shortly before the assault began and said that it might not be a Pakistani aircraft.

He only became aware of the significance of his tweets after President Obama announced details of Bin Laden’s death.

Mr Athar’s first posting on the subject came at around 1am local time (9pm BST).

He wrote: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).”

Soon after, he reported the sound of an explosion, now known to have been US forces blowing up their damaged helicopter.

“A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S”

Throughout the raid, Mr Athar was drawing on information from friends in the local area who were also online.

Already this is being described as another huge day for the micro-blogging service.

“Twitter just had its CNN moment”, as one American website put it, comparing this event with the first Gulf War, where millions suddenly woke up to the fact that cable news was the place to observe a war unfold in real-time.

Such is the power of this media network that it has become the key resource for older media trying to stay ahead of events. A journalist who does not use Twitter is now like one who ignores the mobile phone.

“The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani…”

“People are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. I heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful.”

US officials stated that the raid took less than 40 minutes, but Mr Athar said there was still a military presence in the area two hours later.

“And now, a plane flying over Abbottabad…”

In his Twitter biography, Sohaib Athar describes himself as: “An IT consultant taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops.”

He also said that he was not surprised to be the only person writing about events as they happened.

“I’ve been tweeting for about 5, 6 years, and been tweeting about Abbottabad because no one really talks about it. In fact, not many people use Twitter here. Everyone uses Facebook,” he said.

In the five years since Twitter was created, it has played a growing role in the reporting of world events.

The first glimpse that many people had of the site’s potential was in 2009 when a US Airways plane made an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson.

Ferry passenger Janis Krums tweeted a picture of the stricken aircraft, moments after it came down.

More recently, Twitter has been hailed as a catalyst in making world events happen. Earlier this year during the Egyptian uprising, which led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, it was widely referred to as the “Twitter Revolution”.

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