How did you hear of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden?

How did you hear of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden?

I experienced the news via Twitter!

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer tweeted just after 9:45 p.m., "POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time."

10:30 p.m. on Sunday night? I feared that it could be one of those "there is an astroid headed for Earth" kind of press conferences.

I turned on CNN to hear Wolf Blitzer tell the audience "We have strong suspicions of what this news might be."

While Blitzer was teasing, Twitter started going nuts after Keith Urbahn, chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tweeted, "So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn."

By the time President Obama confirmed the news to a TV audience, I was already reading the tweets of Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant living in Abbottabad near the Bin Laden complex. Athar was annoyed by helicopter noise. Here are his tweets @ReallyVirtual

"Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)."

"Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter :-/"

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

"all silent after the blast, but a friend heard it 6 km away too... the helicopter is gone too."

"the few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani..."

"Since taliban (probably) don't have helicopters, and since they're saying it was not "ours", so must be a complicated situation"

"The Abbottabad helicopter/UFO was shot down near the Bilal Town area, and there's report of a flash. People saying it could be a drone."

"people are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. i heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful."

"And now, a plane flying over Abbottabad..."

"Another rumor: two copters that followed the crashed one were foreign Cobras - and got away"

"Report from a sweeper: A family also died in the crash, and one of the helicopter riders got away and is now being searched for."

"Well, there were at least two copters last night, I heard one but a friend heard two, for 15-20 minutes."

"Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.: ISI has confirmed it Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood :-/"

Follow Sohaib Athar on Twitter: @ReallyVirtual

Follow me on Twitter: @BranimirKvartuc

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Comment by Eddie North-Hager on May 3, 2011 at 1:53pm
that's right! I called like 10 professors and didn't even mention the topic, just checking their availability. Only one was unaware of why I was calling.
Comment by Branimir Kvartuc on May 3, 2011 at 1:13pm
interesting. so, were you the one who broke the news to a USC expert??
Comment by Eddie North-Hager on May 3, 2011 at 8:03am
I was just about to rent "Country Strong" on demand and watch it with Alyson when my cell phone rang. It was KCBS looking for a USC expert to come into the studio and give an analysis. "The topic?" I asked ...

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