Business

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.

sjvn

@sjvn

OTOH. Lehman’s on-going collapse turned weird. When was the last time the market opened for Sunday emergency trading?

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Dave Ambrose

@daveambrose

Good friend is packing up his desk at Lehman Brothers tonight.

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Thomas Keeley

@thomasjkeeley

Ouch… CNBC showing Lehman staff already packing up their offices.

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

— Johnny Saucedo (@johnny4000)

Johnny Saucedo

@johnny4000

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

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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

— Paul DeBettignies (@MNHeadhunter)

Paul DeBettignies

@MNHeadhunter

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

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

— The New York Times (@nytimes)

The New York Times

@nytimes

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

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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

— Peter Olson (@Dethtron5000)

Peter Olson

@Dethtron5000

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

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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.

— Ken Krista (@kkrista)

Ken Krista

@kkrista

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

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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. :)

— Thomas Keeley (@thomasjkeeley)

Thomas Keeley

@thomasjkeeley

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

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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.

— Murray Williams (@MurDog)

Murray Williams

@MurDog

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

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

— Jose Diaz (@jadiaz_)

Jose Diaz

@jadiaz_

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

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

— Patrick Ottenhoff (@POttenhoff)

Patrick Ottenhoff

@POttenhoff

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

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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 http://my.barackobama.com/livestream

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama)

Barack Obama

@BarackObama

In Pueblo, CO. Holding a “Change We Need” rally. Watch it live at http://my.barackobama.com/livestream

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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.

— Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer)

Robert Scoble

@Scobleizer

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

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

— John Gruber (@gruber)

John Gruber

@gruber

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

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23. The Ron Paulites were out in full force

Was Ron Paul right about Merrill and Lehman Brothers? http://tweetopolis.com/politics/#8

— twop (@twop)

twop

@twop

Was Ron Paul right about Merrill and Lehman Brothers? http://tweetopolis.com/politics/#8

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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)

Farimah

@Farimah

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

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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?

— Martin Varsavsky (@martinvars)

Martin Varsavsky

@martinvars

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

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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

— Jeremy Johnson (@JeremyJ)

Jeremy Johnson

@JeremyJ

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

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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 matt.zeitlin@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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