How Twitter Reacted To Lehman’s Bankruptcy

Twitter only had around 200,000 people using the service every week when Lehman Brothers died five years ago today. Here’s a look at how they responded in real time.

1. Five years ago, Twitter was a shadow of its current self, mostly power users and news sites.

2. Starting late Sunday night and early Monday morning, word came through that Lehman Brothers, America’s fourth largest investment bank, was dead.

at work sunday night waiting for lehman to go bankrupt. hope they do it soon so i can go home.

— johnny4000 (@Johnny Saucedo)

7. Not only was Lehman dead, but Merrill Lynch had been sold to Bank of America lest it too face bankruptcy, and the insurance giant AIG was on the verge of bankruptcy.

CNBC Special. Being on the air on a Sunday evening is never good. US market futures down big time. News on Lehman, AIG, and Merrill Lynch

— MNHeadhunter (@Paul DeBettignies)

NYT NEWS ALERT: Lehman Brothers Announces It Will File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

— nytimes (@The New York Times)

10. Almost immediately, people started to panic, correctly realizing that the world financial system was on the verge of freezing up and collapsing.

watching lehman brothers lead the world's financial system into collapse

— Dethtron5000 (@Peter Olson)

12. Naturally, thoughts immediately turned to the stock market, which would go through one of its worst single day losses in history.

With Barclay's and BofA out of the running, Lehman Bros. looks to be headed toward bankruptcy. The stock market looks to be fucked.

— kkrista (@Ken Krista)

14. Some were a bit sanguine

Tomorrow = buy day! Lehman will bring everything down short term in the morning; great time to get some unrelated, great value stocks. :)

— thomasjkeeley (@Thomas Keeley)

16. Others saw justice in Lehman’s collapse and Merrill’s near-death experience

I hate that Lehman Bros buyout will reek havoc with the econ, but these oil speculators deserve all they get. Burn baby burn.

— MurDog (@Murray Williams)

One of the big investment banks, Lehman Brothers, got there ass handed to them today. Boo Hoo.

— jadiaz_ (@Jose Diaz)

silver lining with merrill and lehman folding - clarity in the market.

— POttenhoff (@Patrick Ottenhoff)

19. Senator Obama was in Colorado for a campaign event. The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the subsequent economic panic would help propel him to the White House.

In Pueblo, CO. Holding a "Change We Need" rally. Watch it live at

— BarackObama (@Barack Obama)

21. Two of the most prominent tech bloggers were very much on Twitter that day, sounding exactly like they do now.

In front of Lehman Brothers in Times Square. Tons of media and tourists taking cell phone pics. Hanging out with the gear guys.

— Scobleizer (@Robert Scoble)

Who the hell would have ever thought that “professional weblogger” would be a more stable job than "Lehman Brothers investment banker"?

— gruber (@John Gruber)

23. The Ron Paulites were out in full force

Was Ron Paul right about Merrill and Lehman Brothers?

— twop (@twop)

24. Despite being one of the dominos that almost brought down the financial system and plunged the world into the world economic collapse since the Great Depression, some Lehman employees had some serious #firstworldproblems

Think credit crunch hitting you? Friend of friend a) works for Lehman Bros b) lost all wedding presents through wrapit last month. Ouch.

— Farimah (@Farimah)

25. By the afternoon, people started focusing on AIG, which would be taken over by the government the next day

Bear gone, Lehman gone, Merrill gone, AIG going....u still there?

— martinvars (@Martin Varsavsky)

26. This guy basically got it right

Lehman bankrupt, Merril sold for peanuts on the dollar, DOW down 300 points - Today = one of the most dramatic days in Wall St. history

— JeremyJ (@Jeremy Johnson)

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Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at
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