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Osama dies, net explodes

india Updated: May 03, 2011 01:30 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Early Monday morning, as US President Barack Obama confirmed that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan, the social networking space exploded with activity.

More than 4,000 tweets per second — a record — went out during Obama’s speech, and terms such as ‘Osamadead’, ‘PartyintheUSA’ and ‘Mission Accomplished’ were trending within seconds. Twitter, in fact, beat TV in breaking the news with CNN’s breaking news appearing 20 minutes later. Over 100 Facebook groups sprang up in the next hour, with names such as Osama Dead Laden (250 followers), Osama Dead Finally (300 followers) and the most popular of the lot — Osama is Dead (58,583 followers by noon).

Hollywood stars were quick to start tweeting, too. “Rumpupum Rumpupupum Rumpupupum #ManDown,” wrote singer Rihanna. “What a historical moment in the fight against hatred,” tweeted pop queen Lady Gaga. While TV host Oprah Winfrey asked, “Does this mean the war is over?”, designer Nicky Hilton wrote, “After 9 years, 8 months and 20 days justice is finally served.”

Bollywood responded with slight skepticism. “Am hoping a sense of balance is maintained in the US at the Osama news. Closure is good, revenge isn’t,” wrote actor Rahul Bose.”Filmmaker Kunal Kohli asked, “US does a covert operation in Pakistan,with their support & gets Osama, why can’t we get the Mumbai serial blast & 26/11 masterminds?” Actor Shruti Haasan wrote, “I’m slightly perturbed by the crazy celebration of a death, no matter whose it is!”

Desi Astrologer predicted it
An Indian astrologer, Bharat Upmanyu from Gurgaon, had written to President Obama in September 2010 stating that his calculations showed that Osama was hiding in the Muzaffarabad region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. “According to my research of 3 years, bin Laden is in POK near Muzaffarabad,” he had written. Abbotabad, where Osama was found, is 76km from Muzaffarabad.

India’s bin Laden
Actor Pradhyuman Singh, 27, who played Osama in the 2010 film Tere Bin Laden, was flooded with calls and SMSes soon after the news broke. “I was woken up by calls asking me for a reaction. But, why should I react? I am not his relative,” he says, adding that his friends sent him messages such as: ‘How is it up there?’ and ‘My condolences’. He adds, “It’s great that people are interested in the film again; this situation is a lot like the film.”

Ghost Osama on Twitter
A few hours after President Obama announced his death, Osama bin Laden started tweeting! A Twitter handle called GhostOsama sprang up, with his first tweet reading, “Well this sucks...I accidentally enabled location on my tweets.” Within one hour, GhostObama had more than 20,000 followers. He continued to make tongue-in-cheek comments such as, “I retire as the world champion of hide and seek” and “Did I mention that I have 72 virgins?” The anonymous user did not spare Obama either.

I can see your wife naked,” he tweeted. At the time of going to press, GhostOsama had 28,660 followers.