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Top Live Tweets: The 10 Most Surprising Events Broadcast On Twitter

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/15/2012 8:32 am Updated: 05/15/2012 8:33 am

Live Tweets Twitter

Every so often we're pulled into a live stream of tweets that broadcasts an event play-by-play on Twitter. Most recently, a Houston hospital live tweeted a brain surgery -- complete with photos.

Usually the events are relatively high-profile -- it seems like almost everyone live tweets the Oscars and the State of the Union. But sometimes we get hooked on a feed of live tweets that are so odd we wonder why anyone would have the gall to send the 140 characters out into to the world.

Take the National Zoo's recent panda insemination, for example. It's an interesting social media campaign, but it certainly made for some colorful and bizarre tweets. Imagine arriving near the end of that conversation.

Live tweeting dates back to the early days of Twitter, which debuted in 2006, but didn't really take off until a few years later, around the same time how-to guides started popping up online. Music fans, doctors and journalists jumped on the opportunity to capitalize on their social media presence while also providing explicit details in traditional live broadcast fashion.

Like live blogs, live tweet feeds tend to focus on coverage of widely recognized events. However, two subsets have emerged: behind-the-scenes tweets, such as the backstage happenings concerts or award shows, and live reactions -- Aziz Ansari recently live tweeted his reaction to the "G.I. Joe Retaliation" trailer.

Although some types of events are a bit overdone -- looking at you, live tweeted marriage proposals -- there's certainly room for fresh ideas that haven't been tried before.

Has anyone live tweeted while skydiving? Not that we know of -- if that's even possible. Don't do that. Seriously.

However, we are interested in seeing some original ideas. So we propose this challenge: come up with an amazing live tweet idea and put it into action. Remember to tweet @HuffPostTech so we can follow along.

In the mean time, check out the gallery to see our selection of ten surprising events that were live tweeted.

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  • Osama Bin Laden Raid

    In 2011, one of Osama Bin Laden's neighbor's Sohaib Athar unwittingly <a href="" target="_hplink">live tweeted the raid</a> that led to Bin Laden's death.

  • National Zoo's Artificial Panda Insemination

    On April 30, one lucky onlooker live tweeted the <a href="" target="_hplink">artificial insemination</a> of the female panda Mei Xiang.

  • Journalist's Arrest

    On May 7, a Moscow journalist <a href="" target="_hplink">live tweeted his own arrest</a> during protests of the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as president of Russia.

  • Titanic Re-enactment

    This may not qualify as real live tweeting since the Titanic hit an iceberg 100 years ago, but it's pretty close. The Twitter account, created by the History Channel, provided minute-by-minute tweets of the Titanic's disastrous voyage <a href="" target="_hplink">in remembrance of the 100-year anniversary</a> of the event.

  • First Open Heart Surgery

    Houston's Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital became the first to <a href="" target="_hplink">live tweet an open-heart surgery</a> on February 23.

  • Heart Attack

    White House reporter Tommy Christopher took to Twitter <a href="" target="_hplink">during his heart attack</a> and live tweeted the onset and aftermath.

  • Burger King Breakup

    In 2011, web developer Andy Boyle decided to live tweet the <a href="" target="_hplink">breakup of a couple</a> who was seated at the table next to his in a Boston Burger King. The series of live tweets later <a href="" target="_hplink">sparked a Twitter debate</a> about the ethics of publicizing a breakup through social networking.

  • Abortion

    In 2010, 27-year-old Florida resident Angie Jackson <a href="" target="_hplink">live tweeted her own abortion</a> after taking RU-486, a pill that induces miscarriage, in order to demystify the termination of a pregnancy. She explains why in the video above.

  • Police Encounter

    Arizona Cardinals Defensive End Darnell Dockett live tweeted his <a href="" target="_hplink">traffic stop in 2011</a>.

  • Food Co-op Meeting

    This live tweet stream makes the list not for its following (or for making the history books), but for its humor. Reuters senior opinion writer Chadwick Matlin chose to live tweet a <a href="" target="_hplink">Park Slope Food Co-op meeting</a>, capturing the many colorful responses of his neighbors.

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