This definitely counts as big news. Osama Bin Laden is dead after over a decade of trying.
Interestingly, in many news outlets the fact that the news leaked on Twitter before President Obama’s announcement to the nation almost rivals the news itself. Just in following my own Twitter stream I knew the news (or at least the rumor) well before it appeared in the mainstream media.
ABC News has compiled a stream of the Twitter messages and mainstream media responses as they came out, as below. They used Storify, a service that just came out of beta last week. Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify, spoke at our Future of Crowdsourcing Summit last year to talk about how it provides a platform for people to collectively tell stories.
Storify provides an ideal format to pull together the elements of the media and social media puzzle that show how news has disseminated. Today, it would be amazing if news did not leak before its official announcement, and the odds are very high that news leaks happen on Twitter first. We now have a very easy format to pull together and display the chronology of news spreading.
Of course, what you hear on Twitter is not necessarily true. News requires verification by an authoritative source. But most people are happy to delve into unconfirmed news to find out what’s going on. I discussed these issues a couple of years ago in a post How Twitter impacts media and journalism: Five Fundamental Factors.
Below is the ABC News Storify on how the news came out on Twitter first.