The Power of a Single Tweet: How the Bin Laden News Broke on Twitter


More than any other recent news event, the news of the death of Osama bin Laden showed the power of Twitter. A single tweet by Donald Rumsfeld’s former Chief of Staff Keith Urbahn managed to set the Internet on fire long before the news was made official almost two hours later. The researchers at social media optimization platform SocialFlow analyzed almost 15 million tweets and bitly links to examine how Urbahn’s tweet spread across Twitter in the hours after he posted his now-famous “So I’m told by a reputable person they killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”

Here is what Socialflow’s visualization of this analysis looks like (click on image for a larger view):

What’s interesting is that Keith Urbahn – while well kown within the political sphere in Washington – was likely not on most people’s radar as he only has 1,016 followers at that time. His tweet however, according to SocialFlow, was retweeted 80 times just minutes after he posted it. What really made his message reach the masses, though, was the fact that New York Times reporter Brian Stelter also retweeted it within this first minute and that other large accounts like @laughinsquid, @ObamaNews quickly picked it up as well (likely because they saw Stelter’s tweet).

For a more detailed look at SocialFlow’s analysis, head over to the company’s blog here.


11:01 am

House Tries to Stop FCC from Enforcing Net Neutrality Rules


Just when you thought Net neutrality was going to be the law of the land soon, Washington politics intervene. Now it looks as if the highly charged political atmosphere in Washington could put the enforcement of the FCC’s proposed Net neutrality rules on hold or even kill them altogether. Today, an amendment to the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representative’s budget proposal for 2012 passed the House vote that would ban the FCC from using any part of its budget for enacting the newly proposed Net neutrality rules. The amendment was proposed by Republican representative Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The amendment passed the House by a vote of 244-181. Votes were mostly along party lines.

Here is the short summary of amendment #404:

The amendment would prohibit the use of funds made available by this Act to be used to implement the Report and Order of the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices.

In a press release issued after the amendment passed, Walden argued that “we all want an open and thriving Internet. That Internet exists today. Consumers can access anything they want with the click of a mouse thanks to our historical hands-off approach. I am pleased that my colleagues in the House accepted my amendment to ensure the FCC does not have the funds to implement the controversial Internet regulations.”

Once the House passes its version of the budget, it will have to be reconciled with the version of the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats.

It would probably be hard to argue that banning the FCC from enforcing Net neutrality rules would do anything to reduce the forecasted $1.4 trillion deficit. While most Democrats and President Obama are generally in favor of giving the FCC control over enforcing strict Net neutrality regulations, this year’s budget discussion will likely become extremely heated and Net neutrality could just fall to the wayside in these debates.

10:34 pm