In just a few short years Twitter has gone from a social network startup to a major source of information for people all across the world. Along the way, several major events have been reported in those short, 140 character messages, coming both from official sources and regular people who happen to have witnessed them.
Here we take a look at some of the most famous tweets that have seen important news stories breaking across the world.
Barack Obama’s re-election
On 6 November 2012, US President Barack Obama was elected for a second term in the White House, and took to Twitter to announce the victory. The President accompanied the very short and sweet message with a touching photo of his wife Michelle hugging him, making for one of the social network’s most iconic images.
Osama Bin Laden raid
On 2 May 2011, Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant living in northern Pakistan, took to Twitter to complain about the noise coming from a helicopter that was hovering near his home. What he didn’t know was that the aircraft was a part of the US special forces raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, and Athar inadvertently ended up live-tweeting the event to the world.
First tweet from space
Timothy Creamer, an astronaut living on the International Space Station, became the first person to send a tweet from space on 22 January 2010. Along with his fellow astronauts Jeff Williams and Soichi Noguchi he answered questions about his mission and what it was like living in space.
Plane crash in the Hudson river
One of the first examples of Twitter’s power as a news source came on 15 January 2009, as US Airways flight 1549 was forced to ditch into the Hudson river in New York. All 155 people on board survived, and a shocking photo of the rescue effort was tweeted by Janis Krums, a Latvian expat who was a passenger on a ferry that joined the rescue effort.
The International Space Station has been responsible for several famous tweets, with a more comical one coming from astronaut Chris Hadfield. The Canadian had already developed a following for his space-based tweets, but it was on 3 January 2013 that this stepped up a gear. William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, asked Hadfield if he was tweeting from space, and the brilliant reply was retweeted by countless people across the world.