02 May Social media reactions to bin Laden’s death
I’ve got a full work plate this morning, and my own set of feelings to process about the news of Osama bin Laden’s death (more on that will likely appear on my Tumblr later tonight), but wanted to get down a couple noteworthy bullets. If I have time, I’ll return and flesh these out into a coherent piece.
- We all know that social media get the word out at lightning speed–but what struck me most about this news was not the speed of information, but the immediacy of community development. People are using Twitter and Facebook to work out what are, for many, complicated emotions. Relief, joy, anger, sadness are all appearing at once. This is in stark contrast to what we often see in traditional media soundbites (particularly video media), where broad strokes are painted when it comes to emotional content–i.e., those people are cheering, those people over there are not. Social media is creating a space where it’s acceptable, and useful, to express multiple feelings. This is also very different than, for example, the days following 9/11–when the war on Afghanistan was announced, it was largely extremely taboo in American public squares (online or off) to express concern, or disagreement. Part of that was the political climate, but part of that was that there weren’t necessary effective public spaces for people to be nuanced human beings.
- I’m also struck by the speed with humor was employed as a tactic to process the news. Again, in contrast to 9/11, when we waited two weeks for the new issue of The Onion to come out–no one made any jokes before then. Not only was it taboo, but there just wasn’t a way to deal. (By the way, that issue of The Onion might be the best one ever–headlines like, “God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule, “Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves in Hell,” and many more gems.) Last night, some of the immediate jokes, some in good taste, some not, clearly paved a way for people to express all kinds of reactions to this global news phenomenon. My personal favorites were @marcfaletti‘s “It was that f***ing iPad location history, wasn’t it?” and the newly created @OsamaInHell account tweeting, “Wait, what?”
More as time allows today…