9/11 to Osama Bin Laden’s Death – How Internet Changed Over a Decade!

I woke up today to the news that the world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden was killed. This news I came across on television but after that, I have been following the news story online. This is very different from almost 10 years ago when 9/11 attacks happened. I primarily looked up the news on television. Internet was still used primarily for email. Search engines gave useful links but hardly anyone of them updated their results in real-time and this made searching for news online during the 9/11 attacks quite useless.

I came across a post on Search Engine Land about how Google has evolved. Back in 2001, when the tragedy happened, a lot of American’s probably looked up Google for more news.

Google actually had a banner on their search landing page suggesting people should look the most current news on television and radio.


This was probably because the news agencies did not put out reports immediately on the internet and Google search probably did not do a good job of searching real time results. Also much of the news agencies did not put up their content free but it was premium.

Today, if we searched for Osama Bin Laden’s death, we get search results which are almost in real-time and the top links are all to credited and trusted websites which cover the news.


But, Google was probably not the first place, people came across this news. Many of my friends came across this news on Twitter. Twitter does seem to be crowd-sourcing news in real-time and has become a very important tool in today’s online world.

Twitter is becoming a primary source for News!

Here is how the term “Osama” was used on Twitter according to Trendistic.


The news spread like wildfire on Twitter and it was done in real time. The reports were scattered by within hours about 17% of the Tweets contained the word “osama” in it. That is a huge volume of people getting and sharing news on Twitter.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube which are distributing and spreading news through the world within seconds did not even exist on 11th September 2001.

Do drop in your comments.

Related: How Twitter became ultimate news source during 26/11 Mumbai Attacks


Himadri Dimri May 2, 2011

Yes the way people get the news has highly evolved. Earlier people depended alot on newspapers or tv or radio but today it’s all online..Moreover it’s all real time. I wonder someday people would get twitter-paper everyday 🙂 .

Aditya Kane May 2, 2011

You have a point Himadri, but we still need to read news reports from media to actually get context of the news. Twitter is just making the delivery of raw information very fast.

Rakesh Narang May 2, 2011

Twitter has definitely played an important roles in making news… in recent years. And the news of Osama being dead is really blessing to all of mankind.

Aditya Kane May 3, 2011

Yes, Twitter has been a boon lately for news to travel fast. But its crowd source nature can also be misused sometimes for spreading rumors.

Himanshu May 2, 2011

technology has really evolved in the past decade. has made our lives very interesting.

Aditya Kane May 3, 2011

While technology has evolved and offered us more information, we might be missing out on actual context and understanding. But this is surely true that during a crisis technology is usually a great boon.

Karan Batra May 3, 2011

This Revolution that has been seen post 9/11 is all thanks to Mark Zuckerberg who should be given the title of “Father of Social Networking”

Keith May 3, 2011

You are right. Google is forced to do a better job today than in 2001. There is a lot more competition for eyeballs now than then. Not only Twitter, but conversation with friends on Facebook, Myspace and the like have all detracted from Google’s kingpindom.

So it also follows that the more distractions we all have, the better Google must get to hold or attention and remain relevant. I believe that is the real intent behind all the Google Apps that have been released. Not all have been relevant, but a significant percentage have. All because of competition.

Aditya Kane May 3, 2011

I still feel, that NEWS is not something people will end up searching for much as come across it on social media.

khalid May 3, 2011

Intermet has made the world a small village, I remember the days of our beloved PM late Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Rajive Gandhi was in Kolkata and and trying to get the news in BBC, there was no twitter and facebook those days. Its a real change and very favorable too for mankind.

Arpan Kar June 1, 2011

Great article buddy.. Loved your focus…
but seriously, we always have been and will remain monitored by the big brother

Shailendra Singh Bais August 4, 2011

I guess, Google has evolved more in the form of Google News, when we speak about news. Tough, Google News is also a part of Google {Gaint Search Engine}. All credit goes to Krishna Bhatt [Something…] who had developed Google News just after 9/11 and Google released Google News updates just after Osama’s death..

Aditya Kane August 4, 2011

Thanks, I was not aware who was the brains behind Google News.