On the sixth anniversary of Twitter, we are reminded of how Twitter has changed the way we watch news, politics and the world. Not only is Twitter the top link referral site and an important part of political strategy, but it has also played a giant role in breaking news that would might not have broken otherwise.
So in honor of Twitter, and all of the transparency it has brought to politics and the world, Red Alert Politics has compiled the top breaking news stories that were dramatically changed by Twitter.
5. The Death of Osama Bin Laden – Last spring one Pakistani tweeter (@ReallyVirtual) tweeted about the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s house saying, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” He realized nine hours later that he had just live tweeted a top secret U.S. mission.
4. Japan Tsunami – While the news may or may not have originally broken on Twitter, Twitter was indispensable to the relief efforts in the aftermath. Used both as a way to spread news updates and to collect donations, Twitter contributed to the efficiency of the recovery and helped victims tell their stories.
3. Egyptian Revolution – Arguably, the Egyptian revolutionaries would have never been able to aggregate their forces without Twitter and other social media. Because of Twitter’s unique ability to spread ideas quickly, Egyptians who objected to the oppressive regime of Hosni Mubarak were able to find allies and form a community. It also helped American conservatives convey their encouragement to the revolutionaries.
2. Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson – These three pop stars have one thing in common: Twitter broke the news about about their deaths before anyone else. On the scene tweeters live-tweeted the events surrounding the death of these stars as they happened, getting the word out far sooner than the mainstream press would have be able to do.
1. Weiner’s Mistake – Of course, no Twitter scandal list can ever be complete without a mention of disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, who notoriously sent out lewd photos to all of his followers by accident. The incident not only cost him his job, but also sent a message to everyone in politics: the world is far less private than it used to be.
Twitter’s influence is still growing. Watch the important role Twitter will play in the 2012 election season. There is no escape, if something happens, it will be tweeted about, and that fact has changed the world of politics and news forever.
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