Where were you when you found out?
We still ask this for the Twin Towers. Maybe the question doesn’t appear as much as it used to, but it’s there. It’s children have asked me this question most recently. Kids that don’t remember what happened 2001, or couldn’t know because they still weren’t alive.
Sunday, May 1, 2011. The death of Osama bin Laden will probably have a similar affect. Where were you when you found out? How did you find out? The difference I think is the latter question: How did you find out? The news broke out not on television, not on online news sources, but Twitter.
Breaking news of bin Laden sprung up all over on Twitter. It started when the Whitehouse announced that President Obama was going to make a speech that Sunday night. People started speculating what was happening, and asked each other why such an announcement for a Sunday night. Information came in: It might be bin Laden. Many people, myself included, laughed at the fact. It’s been over 9 years, that man wasn’t getting caught.
But it looks as though all our skepticism was for not. The papers published breaking news stories, President Obama announced it live—I streamed it live off MSNBC—and the world (or the U.S.) went a-frenzy.
I got Facebook messages, I got texts, and I got calls: everyone wanted to share the news.
What really interested me was the President’s announcement. My roommate ran into my room to tell me to watch the live stream and then ran back into her room to watch it separately on her computer. Another roommate and her boyfriend watched the announcement live on TV. We were all within 40 feet of one another, but plugged into separate devices.
To me it was such a telling incident of our generation. Instead of all crowding around a small black and white television or radio (I’m thinking late 1950s) to watch the breaking news from the President, we sat in our own rooms, on our own devices, to watch in our own certain way. However, at the same time, the Internet connected tens of hundreds of people interested in knowing what was going on within a very short amount of time.
It’s an interesting thought, because in one way we are more connected than ever, but in another we are separated by the very same technology that connects us.
So, where were you when you found out?