For Long Islanders on Twitter, Sunday night started as a typical winding down of the weekend. One woman lamented her discovery of three gray hairs. Another re-tweeted the optimistic thought that "Prince Harry is still available!"
But things were just starting to brew, and soon, from 10:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., an average of 3,440 tweets would rip through the Twitterverse -- that's per second -- according to Twitter.
Two minutes later, Urbahn, who many say broke the news, followed up with a disclaimer saying, "Don't know if its true, but let's pray it is."
At that point, Twitter and Facebook were bubbling with reports; sentiments of awe and delight; memories of 9/11; comments on the expectation that Donald Trump would call for bin Laden's long-form death certificate.
At 11:07 p.m., Paul Biedermann, @PaulBiedermann, of Huntington, tweeted: "He was in a mansion??? Caves aren't what they used to be." And later, "Wonder how many flat screens he had."
Biedermann, 48, a creative director, who from his then-Manhattan office saw the smoke billowing from the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, said Monday that the news was "a momentous occasion."
"Twitter gave us all a way to communicate and be in it in the moment," he said.
He also followed the tweets of the man in Abbottabad, Pakistan, software developer Sohaib Athar, @ReallyVirtual, who was tweeting about the noise of hovering helicopters, explosions and rattling windows until finally he made the connection, saying: "Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it."
A little after midnight, Pamela Cunningham, 39, of Selden, had just finished watching a movie and was about to go to bed. As she went to close her laptop, her Facebook page refreshed and she saw a Newsday post asking, "Where were you when you heard Osama bin Laden was killed?"
Her response: "I'm sorry, what?"
Cunningham shared on her wall a prayer and chant of USA USA USA USA.
Besides tipping her off to the story, Facebook also created a sense of community for her and her far-flung family members, she said, especially at 1 a.m. when it's too late to make a phone call.