The Week on Twitter: Edward Snowden, Oregon Shooting & Super Blood Moon

This week, Twitter said hello to Edward Snowden, witnessed another US school shooting, watched the moon go a bit red, and panicked when Facebook was down.

Gunman kills 9 in Oregon Community College shooting #OregonShooting

Yesterday at around 10:30am, self-proclaimed conservative Republican Chris Harper-Mercer shot 9 students and teachers dead in Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Witnesses say that the gunman was carrying “a long gun” and three handguns at the scene, as he asked victims to stand and state their religion before shooting them. At least 7 others were injured during the attack before Harper-Mercer was shot dead by Oregon county police.

Many news sites have cited content from Harper-Mercer’s social media accounts, exposing the shooter as an IRA sympathiser, who admires Vester Flanagan – the former employee of local news network WDBJ who shot a reporter and her cameraman live on air after he had been fired. Regarding Flanagan’s attack last month, Harper-Mercer said “A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone.”

The Umpqua Community College shooting is the 142nd school shooting in the US since the Sandy Hook school attack in December of 2012. It is also the 994th mass shooting the country has seen in 3 years. President Obama condemned the “routine” of mass shootings that America has become numb to over the past few years. Speaking to the press, he said that thoughts and prayers were not enough, and that in order to “let young people grow up” the country’s gun control laws would have to be changed.

Facebook crashes for the second time in one week #FacebookDown

On Monday, Facebook went down for approximately 42 minutes, leaving millions of users unable to access their timelines, messages, or Candy Crush requests. The site’s spokesperson Jay Nancarrow responded to the online panic by reassuring everyone that they were “working to bring things back to normal.”

It was the second time that Facebook had crashed in 5 days due to a configuration error that saw the site’s shares drop 4%, and left lots and lots of people without a place to moan about their grievances.

They took to Twitter instead.

Edward @Snowden joins Twitter

Two years after fleeing the US and seeking asylum in Russia, ex-NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden made himself a Twitter account. In June of 2013, Snowden leaked thousands of classified National Security Agency documents to the press regarding America’s mass surveillance programmes, government secrets, and information concerning the agency’s wiretaps.

Probably the world’s most famous whistleblower, Snowden has been charged with theft of government property, and been labelled a threat to national security, a traitor, and a hero. He has been living in Russia since 2013, and is reportedly seeking asylum elsewhere.

On Tuesday, Snowden broke his Twitter silence, followed the NSA’s official account, and tweeted the following:

Snowden gained over 1 million followers in 24 hours – and received an email for every single one of them as he forgot to switch of his notifications. He tweeted about it yesterday. It got lots of favourites.

Naturally, Twitter got a bit excited by Snowden’s existence and he trended for a while as everyone admired the irony of his decision to follow the NSA, retweeted him lots, and laughed as comedian Jon Hendren was mistakenly invited to discuss Edward Scissorhand’s exile from his hometown.

#SuperBloodMoon excites everyone #BloodMoonEclipse

On September 28th a total eclipse of a rare super moon occurred and everyone got really excited. According to, the sighting of a so-called ‘Blood Moon’ during Biblical times used to signify the end of days. Christian pastors John Hagee and Mark Blitz are still under the impression that eclipses like Super Blood Moon are related to the apocalypse because of their correlation with various Jewish festivals. Others simply believe that eclipses happen because of, well… Science.

This week, the moon turned red because of Rayleigh scattering; the same thing responsible for colourful sunsets. Super Blood Moon was the last solar eclipse of this year, but don’t worry – we only have to wait 158 days, 12 hours, and 31 minutes until the next one.

It’s #NationalPotatoDay!

Today is National Potato Day; let us rejoice! Or not, because according to Michael Kelly the sale of the potato has actually been in decline for some time.

Kelly took to over the weekend to blame women for the potato’s 25% drop in sales over the past decade, as they are constantly complaining about spuds being too fattening. He wrote a whole article about why potatoes are great, debunked some common potato myths, and got us all pumped for this here glorious potato day.

So go celebrate! Eat some potato! You deserve it.

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