How did you first learn that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a US military strike? A found that a majority of Americans first learned the news through local, network, or cable news.
Personally, though, I learned about it on Twitter. I was just getting ready to watch a backlog of favorite shows on my DVR, and happened to peek at as I was getting a drink. Had I not seen the news come across Twitter, I most likely wouldn't have know what was going on in the world until the next day because I would have been busy watching recorded shows from days earlier.
While the address by President Obama--which aired at 11:35pm Eastern after much of the United States had probably gone to bed--was the most watched presidential speech in a decade, , it was just the beginning. Once that nine minute address was over, people around the world turned to the Internet to find more information, to share news and links, and to talk about this major event.
One Pakistani man inadvertently on the bin Laden compound. that searches for Osama bin Laden spiked one million percent following the news. Events like this demonstrate how crucial the Internet and social media have become as a medium for breaking news and real-time communication around the globe. Social networking has completely altered the culture of news and information.
Unfortunately, the very thing that makes social networking so great is also its Achilles heel. People connect with one another on Facebook, or follow one another on Twitter because they want to know what those people have to say. Social networking is built on a sort of inherent trust, and an expectation that you are interested in reading about what those in your social networks choose to share.