Breaking news and social media: The new status quo?

If anyone doubts the ubiquity of social media, this week’s news certainly begs to differ – specifically, the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and the resulting global rush of tweets, posts and other social commentary documenting the incident. If you’ve been on the social web at all this week, there’s no need to reiterate the key points; you likely already know them, and you probably heard first notice of the news in your Facebook feed, Twitter stream or other social network of choice.

That may itself be the interesting thing, though: Even though it’s only been a few months since Twitter made headlines as the main vehicle for reporting the death of Osama bin Laden, the fact that word of Gaddafi’s death was a primarily social-media affair now almost seems like a given. Mashable actually did a splendid job illustrating how comfortable we are with social breaking news with this slideshow of key tweets from the day, with moods ranging from ecstatic to cautious to irreverent. Since it’s Friday, we’ll sign off with one that, while it didn’t have much to do with the actual news, made copy desk editors everywhere nod their heads in sympathy:

How did you hear about Gaddafi’s death this week? What sources – social media, newspapers, websites, TV – do you turn to in a breaking news situation, and what’s the medium that usually alerts you to that news in the first place? Let us know in the comments.