Did Questlove Break the Latest Occupy Wall Street News?

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 15 2011 10:16 AM

Did Questlove Break the Latest Occupy Wall Street News?

Questlove in New York City in May.
Questlove in New York City in May.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ONE Show

Among the reasons Twitter has become such a popular service: 1) the number of celebrities who use the micro-blogging platform, and 2) the platform's usefulness in breaking news stories.

David Haglund David Haglund

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

These two sides to Twitter are usually distinct. But last night, Questlove, the drummer for the Roots, appears to have gotten the scoop on the latest development in the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

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Just before midnight last night, the popular musician tweeted the following:

Omg, drivin down south st near #ows. Somethin bout to go down yo, swear I counted 1000 riot gear cops bout to pull sneak attack #carefulyall 

At the time, the official Occupy Wall Street Twitter feed was still operating in a business-as-usual mode; about an hour after Questlove's tweet, it shared the news of Mike Myers's recent Occupy Wall Street visit (with video).

Questlove's eyewitness report was retweeted hundreds of times. Soon the Occupy Wall Street feed took notice and began reaching out for confirmation. Skeptically at first: Perhaps he saw a film shoot for the next Batman film? Or just a regular shift change?

After considerable back and forth, those responsible for the official feed were satisfied that Questlove's read of the situation was correct, and they tweeted the news:

ANNOUNCEMENT - #LibertySquare is BEING RAIDED NOW. LIVE:http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc #ows

A woman named Annie Heckenberger took notice, telling Questlove he was "@OccupyWallStNYC's Paul Revere."* When Questlove himself realized what he'd done, his own reply, early this morning, was somewhat less poetic (and probably tongue-in-cheek):

@OccupyWallStNYC told you.

*Correction, Nov. 15, 2011: This post originally misidentified the tweeter @anniemal. She is Annie Heckenberger, not the Norwegian pop singer Annie, made famous by her debut album, Anniemal.

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