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Wide White: Social media responses to Osama bin Laden's death

Monday, May 02, 2011

Social media responses to Osama bin Laden's death

As soon as the White House announced last night that Obama would deliver a national security-related statement, speculation over the reason erupted. Presidential announcements just don't happen at 9:30 PM on a Sunday (or 10:30, for that matter, which is closer to when Obama eventually gave his statement).

Twitter let the cat out of the bag on the news first. Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff tweeted,
So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden.
That was tweeted at 9:24 PM and was retweeted by someone I follow at 9:28 PM.

Over the course of the next few hours, that news was confirmed in President Obama's address and reactions flooded Facebook and Twitter.

Here were some of the most noteworthy posts of the night from people I follow:

I would say 'Mission Accomplished' but it's been done and it isn't.
If anyone has a horribly embarrassing bit of news they'd like to bury, now would be an excellent time to disclose it.
I'm already bored with the Osama dead story. So 4 seconds ago!!! What do I gotta do to get a Charlie Sheen update!??
Osama Bin Laden is dead? I want to see the long-form death certificate.
Learned Osama Bin Laden is dead via Twitter at 9:34pm. Learned Osama Bin Laden is dead via NBC at 9:48pm. #twitterFTW
Take that Osama!
Does this mean less airport security ridiculousness?
Saddam, Usama, next.. [Posted to Facebook by Michele Bachmann's Chief of Staff]
[Waiting for Obama to make his statement] Obama is just busy printing up a "Mission Accomplished" sign.
[From comedian Jim Gaffigan]I In lieu of flowers Al Qaeda has asked that you buy tickets to one my shows
Osama may you rest in hell...
I've never been so happy to hear that somebody has died. Woot woot!
Seriously? He was in Pakistan? Pakistan: How could you do us like that, bro?
Hey @BarackObama please start talking. CNN is embarrassing themselves.
Lara Logan: "You have to get Bin Laden to win, but getting him doesn't mean you've won." Great way to put it.
Anyone tweeting partisan bulls*** right now is totally missing the point. #usa
i'm honestly gonna go out and buy an american flag tshirt right now just so i can wear it to school tomorrow. USA USA USA
I'd celebrate our troops coming home from Afghanistan but Hussein's been dead for 4.5 years & they're still dying in Iraq. :(
Foursquare confirms that Bin Laden just checked-in @ Hell.
Nice job @BarackObama , CIA, and armed forces. Pakistan, I'd like to talk to u in my office.
Many soldiers on my flight. Passengers shaking their hands. Lone naval officer now getting praise as we learn seals carried out attack
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Fans at the Mets-Phillies game began chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as the news of Osama bin Laden's death spread through Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night.
Rah rah US. Gratuitous flag waving. Three cheers for Obama. Now can we get the TSA to stop groping Americans? Kthx.
Hope US military team responsible 4 Osama bin Laden’s capture & death R identified. They deserved 2 B publicly celebrated.
Crazy to think it took 10 yrs. 1/3 of my life.
Gas prices will be back to $2.00 per gallon tomorrow right?
phillies fans break out into chants of USA, USA, chills!
May 1st, 2003: George Bush gives "Mission Accomplished speech aboard USS Abraham Lincoln

May 1st, 2011: Barack Obama actually accomplishes mission
"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." -Mark Twain.
God have mercy on his soul.
the four words OBL probably wasn't expecting to hear...I never knew you
In front of the white house a few thousand people are here, great friendly celebration!
[Same person from previous tweet in front of the White House] Crowd is chanting "obama obama you f***ing killed osama"
Wow! That's amazing. Someone tweeted raid. RT @henrim: This is unreal. @reallyvirtual live tweeted the Osama raid.
Remember on Sept 12, 2001, when you saw people in some places abroad celebrating death? Exactly. Don't be like that.
He was a demagogue and mass-murderer. But rejoicing in or celebrating another person's violent death is f***ed. Let's quietly move on.

Many Christians seemed to find themselves wondering if they should celebrate or feel sadness for the loss of Osama bin Laden's soul.

I think Proverbs 11:10 may provide some direction on this:
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
Of course, others have noted Ezekiel 18:23:
"Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?"
I didn't agree with everything that was said last night, but I enjoyed the summary of individual analyses that Twitter and Facebook provided.

I also thought the proverb, quoted by someone on Twitter, was a good reminder that celebration is part of this experience. Osama bin Laden was an evil man who destroyed the lives of many people. His death marks a victory in the war that is worth celebrating.

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Blogger swirlingeddy declared,

I saw a tweet that said "Fox News reports Obama killed a homeless religious man with kidney problems."

5/02/2011 10:58 AM  
Blogger Steve Quist declared,

On Monday mornings I go to a bible study. We are reading Matthew right now and today we only read one verse, Matthew 12:33, before we stopped and spent the rest of the 30-45 minutes talking about Bin Laden, and even whether Obama can be forgiven or if he even has the right to give the order to have Bin Laden killed. Really interesting discussion.

5/02/2011 12:00 PM  

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