Osama bin Laden died and actually, whether tastefully or not, he took over the internet with his death. For a few days at least, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, to some degree Google and even Foursquare went nuts, with users 'celebrating' his death. The fan following to these 'celebrations' is high enough to keep them going. So here are five Osama death tributes that have quite the following and, to some degree, have something to say about how we as a race interact between news events and our own personal lives, of which, social networking is a part.
The man whose death took over the internet
For starters, bin Laden's got his own Twitter parody account. There are actually a few that aren't really active but one is still going at it. It's not very fancy named, just @OsamaBinladen. As expected, maybe 0.03% of the tweets are actually appropriate but the account has 15,979 followers and that count is constantly increasing. There are also a ton of ghost accounts, the most popular of which is @EvilGhostOsama. Of course, the way bin Laden truly took over Twitter was with the fact that his death was in a way, announced on Twitter itself and the news really spread like wildfire on Twitter. His death ignited a record 12.4 million tweets per hour.
Osama's dead Facebook page has 47,000 + fans
Of course, a ton of Facebook pages turned up in dedication to this death but the one that stuck out is this one. It started out with 15,000 fans just a few days ago and now it's up to 4,77,087. Of course, the description of this page, “Osama Bin Laden has not been found and will never be found because he died a long time ago (2001). This may be news to you because it wasn't in the news,” is definitely not entirely accurate but actual discussions are being had on the page's wall, people are supporting each others 9/11 losses and a few are even calling out the inappropriateness of the group. The fact is though, it's the unison factor. Clearly his death was something significant to a lot of people and Facebook being the platform it is, was able to provide the means for sharing the significance.
Foursquare did the ultimate; it allowed you to check in to a world without Osama bin Laden. In Mumbai, I did a search for Osama bin Laden on Foursquare, and one “Osama bin Laden is dead” came up. I did a similar search for Delhi and one “Osamapocalypse (Bin Laden is Dead)” came up. The latter is categorized as a nightclub. The first one has 7 followers and there isn't a mayor yet, which means each person has really only checked in once. For some reason, when you do a search for Osama bin Laden in New York, Foursquare goes a little nuts and includes Japanese restaurants in the mix. But the big events in New York at least were “Osama bin gonathon” and “Osamapocalypse 2011”.
Reddit of course exploded because of the tons of internet memes that came out of Osama's death. The most popular one of which is the image above. For those not in the loop, the image is about Donald Trump making a fuss about Obama being re-elected because he doesn't know where his birth certificate is. Other memes have included Harry Potter crossovers (something about Horcruxes?), Where's Waldo, and Obama using a gaming console controller in the Situation Room while the operation that killed Osama happened.
Google's the sly one of the bunch. While they didn't do anything outrightly “take down Osama”, Google maps now has an indicator of the location of the compound that Osama was hiding in. Users of Google Places even wrote 'reviews' of his death, in celebration. However, the way you find it is by typing, “Osama bin Laden compound” in Google Maps and because it's hard to pin point where exactly in Abbotabad he was hiding, there are now 10 spots on the map either genuinely educated guessing or trolling the location of the mansion. Also, like Twitter, Google really got taken over by Osama the Monday morning that he died. Bin Laden Google Searches were up 1 million percent. Heck, even Yahoo! got a spike of 98,550% in activity due to Osama. So, he's got the search engines too.
So there you have it. As mentioned earlier, some of these are appropriate, some are not, but the fact is that the internet and social networking in particular provide a platform for commonality and the gravity of Osama's death was bound to take over the internet. Did you “celebrate” Osama's death on the internet? How so? Let us know in the comments section below.