The power of Twitter, or how I saw Dave Chappelle live in my house in Bend last night

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 8:16 am by Ben Salmon

On Tuesday morning, rumors began to surface on the Internet that popular, enigmatic comedian Dave Chappelle would perform at midnight that night in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland.

By Tuesday evening, those rumors were roaring around Facebook, Twitter, and other social media spots. The frenzy grew as the clock approached (and passed) midnight, and “dave chappelle portland” became the hottest search trend on Google. Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered downtown, just in case the rumors were true.

By 12:45 a.m., the tweets from Portland indicated that folks figured they’d been had, and they started heading home. And then, just before 1 a.m., the tweets took on a whole different tone:

“Chappelle is here!!!!” said @nevafeva — the first such tweet that I could find. Shortly thereafter, @riotgrrrl6161 posted proof:


There were reports that Chappelle showed up with a tiny amp and could not be heard beyond the first few rows of people. Within minutes, I could see and (not) hear it for myself, thanks to this guy, who posted a live stream of the whole thing using his cell phone.


From Twitter rumor to a live cell-phone stream on my computer in Bend in about 12 hours.


By about 1:30 p.m., Chappelle’s name was a “trending topic” on Twitter, which means lots of people were tweeting about him. And with that came a flood of posts by people using his name (and trend status) for their own gain.

It was sort of a study of human nature at the speed of Internet. And it was fascinating.

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One Response to “The power of Twitter, or how I saw Dave Chappelle live in my house in Bend last night”

  1. Goo says:

    Why are Vox amps the hottest thing since the yellow polka dot bikini? Seriously. I haven’t seen a Vox that I couldn’t stare at for days.

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