Who Broke the Bin Laden News and Why You Should Care

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By now, it’s common knowledge that the news about Bin Laden’s death broke on Twitter and set new traffic records for the site. Donald Rumsfeld’s Chief of Staff, Keith Urbahn, was the first credible source to break the news last Sunday.

What is there to learn from this? Social engagement platform SocialFlow analyzed nearly 15 million tweets and bit.ly links to draw a connection between the news and the influencers. As the graphic above confirms, Keith Urbahn was the main influencer, as well as New York Times digital media reporter Brian Stelter, who shows up in the bottom right as the second hub of retweets. The conclusions you can draw from research, outlined in their blog post:

  • While anyone can tweet, your bio does matter. Urbahn doesn’t brag about his insider connections, but enough people understood that he likely had good sources.
  • It does not matter how many people follow you on Twitter or how often you tweet. At the time of the posting, Urbahn had a little more than 1,000 followers on Twitter. Stelter have more than 55,000 and tweets obsessively. Ultimately, his influence was less important that Urbahn’s.

SocialFlow alos pointed out that Urbahn was not the first to speculate on Bin Laden’s death, but he was the one that gained the most trust. “With that,” writes Social Flow, “the perfect situation unfolded, where timing the right social-professional networked audience, along with a critically relevant piece of information led to an explosion of public affirmation of his trustworthiness.”


Photo by Carolina K. Smith/Shutterstock.com

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