The Abbottabad raid: tellings and retellings

So that’s a telling and retelling of the Abbottabad raid in “real life” as transmitted to us by various media and recorded on the web…


2: The twitter-stream and the analyst

A little earlier a more “purely” digital version of the story – no less confused by the “fog” that inevitably surrounds the reporting of highly volatile situations – had emerged quite spontaneously via Twitter, when the delightfully-named ReallyVirtual (an IT specialist who had moved to Abbottabad for some peace and quiet) was kept awake by the noise of helicopters overhead and sounds of explosions, and tweeted a couple of late-night friends… and a stream of tweets began which quickly led to an almost thousandfold spike in Yahoo searches on bin Laden, and bin Laden related searches occupying all top twenty spots on Google trends

You might call that spontaneous, distributed story-telling – but it’s also the raw material for a collated and curated twitter narrative, using Chirpstory, a tool for curating and presenting stories from the twitter-stream:


We’re not done yet…

That in turn provides grist for the analytic mill of B Raman, a highly-regarded Indian analyst, blogger, and former chief of counter-terrorism with India’s R&AW intelligence agency – who winnowed out the chaff and added in his own commentary to create a denser, tighter analytic narrative of his own:


To my way of thinking, the spontaneous twitter-stream version, the Chirpstory adaptation and B. Raman’s midrash on it are at least as interesting as the successive White House narratives…


3. Further reading:

Also relevant to our narrative here, and your own readings on the topic of our tale:

How the Bin Laden Announcement Leaked Out

Bin Laden Reading Guide: How to Cut Through the Coverage

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6 comments on this post.
  1. sro:

    I’m liking the 20 minute firefight with 4 unarmed guys, and how OBL slept through all that to lurch towards a gun at the end.  More likely it was a ground assault, they never knew what hit them, and helos were for extraction.

  2. J. Scott:

    Charles, I ordered Alexander’s book, although I don’t know when I’ll find time to read it. I did the Amazon preview and it looks pretty good.
    As for narratives, it has been painful to watch how the "story" is in almost constant state of revise and extend. In one of the photos released yesterday, what appeared to be a water pistol was visible just behind the right shoulder of the corpse. What a dichotomy; most wanted terrorist in the world and he has a water pistol in his home…

  3. Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » The Abbottabad raid: telling, telling and retelling:

    […] abridged and adapted from a longer post at Zenpundit ] […]

  4. Bryan Alexander:

    J. Scott, thank you for the book order.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, and be delighted to answer questions.

  5. Telling a story with Twitter: a real world, nonfiction case | The New Digital Storytelling:

    […] Twitter’s storytelling uses have been developing rapidly. Case in point, the narratives around the American strike on Osama bin Laden. […]

  6. J. Scott:

    Hi Bryan, You are welcome! I’m familiar with your ideas from our DIME group on LinkedIn. It may be a few months before get to yours, but it is in the queue!