While three presidents vowed to hunt him down and take his life, it's been almost a full decade since the horrific deaths incurred on American soil at the World Trade Center. At the time, social media and Web 2.0 was only in its infant stages, where over the course of last ten years - blogs, tweets and Facebook status updates have been few and far between regarding the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden
. He and Hitler (and sometimes Stalin and Mao) would frequently show up together as a shorthand metaphor for "evil."
Then within seconds last evening, social media became the world's number one news source in breaking and decimating the news pertaining to the death of Al Qaeda's king-pin.
In Abbottabad, where the American raid was initiated in the mountains of northern Pakistan, Sohaib Athar
, a local IT contractor became known as the guy who live-tweeted the series of helicopter fly-overs directed by Obama's military campaign that targeted bin Laden's compound.
Among one of the first tweets was Keith Urbahn's
, the chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at 10:25 Eastern time: "So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn." Followed immediately by "Don't know if its true, but let's pray it is."
According to LA Times
report, "in nearly two hours between the White House's announcement of President Obama's late-night address to the nation and his actual speech, Twitter's 140-character town hall was popping with speculation."
A Facebook page "Osama Bin Laden is DEAD
" was created instanteously after the news hit Twitter - and has of this posting - already accumulated over 284,000 fans with the latest status listing by Dakota Campbell noting: "its good he is dead but its going to take more than a hardass military to destroy the ideology."
In years to come, the question will be asked, "where were you when you first heard the news that Osama bin Laden was killed?" For many, the answer will be - "on social networks." As fodder for satirical news sites like The Onion
and Jon Stewart's Daily Show
, one could almost imagine a faux news story in the works about how Al Qaeda reacted to the death of their leader with a series of attacks on the Twittersphere and all of its Twitter feeds.
And while "revenge" is one of the human condition's least attractive attributes, when crimes against humanity reach the psychopathic level, the likes of Hitler et al, we can all take solace in knowing that we've rid the world of the master mind behind the deaths of human life on American soil. And thank you Twitter, for being the first on the scene to report the news in real-time!