Home > Uncategorized > Bin Laden’s Death brings Mobile/Social Media into the Spotlight

Bin Laden’s Death brings Mobile/Social Media into the Spotlight

Last night we saw a couple of tremendous examples of how social media is changing the way we communicate, the way we live, and even who we get our information from. I was watching ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the Mets playing in Philadelphia against the Phillies when the news came down, while sitting on my couch with my lap top, phone, iPod, and television in front of me, so it was obviously no surprise that I heard about the news the moment it broke.  However, within 2 to 3 minutes of the news breaking on television, the sell-out crowd of over 43,000 at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia was chanting “USA”. For the moments leading up to that, ESPN’s cameras were not even focused on the game, but were moving throughout the crowd showing seemingly every single person in attendance reading the news on their mobile phone and reacting with joyous energy that lead to the “USA” chant. Check out this video that shows part of the chant. It was clear that mobile allowed this to happen, for everyone in the park just had to push a few buttons on their phone and get the latest breaking news, as it happened. Until the inning ended, the players on the field did not even have any idea as to why the fans were chanting “USA.”

When Sohaib Athar woke up on Sunday morning, he probably did not expect that by the end of the day he would have broken one of the biggest news story in the world has ever seen. He probably also did not know he would trun into a Twitter legend and an extremely coveted interview by the world’s largest news firms.  Athar, a 30-something IT consultant living in the wealthy, quiet city of Abbottabad, Pakistan, began tweeting about a helicopter he heard hovering in the area in the middle of the night, and some loud explosions he heard. What Athar did not know what that he was covering the United States raid of Osama Bin Laden’s mansion, what would ultimately lead to Bin Laden’s death.

Athar had been thrown into the mix as reporter, an authority figure, and a witness all at the same time, for event that will send shockwaves through the world. He was interviewed, as he talks about on his Twitter account, by all sorts of major news networks throughout the world.  His Twitter account currently has almost 87,000 followers, and I do not know how many he had before yesterday, but i promise you a 30-something IT  consultant living in a rich Pakistani city does not have 87,000 followers.  The events of yesterday certainly had something to do with that.

Thanks to social media, we can connect with people around the world instantaneously like never before, and all with one, common interface. It brings people, news, and events together faster then we can even understand.  Now, in addition to turining to CNN for reliable news, we can turn to Twitter, even if their source is @ReallyVirtual.

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