Steve Jobs' death creates Twitter surge

Twitter traffic hits near-record 6049 tweets per second as news of Jobs' death spread

Traffic hit near-record levels on Twitter on Wednesday after news spread of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

Leaders in the high-tech industry , as well as Apple fans and average people, took to social networking sites Wednesday night and Thursday to spread the word about Jobs and to share memories and tributes to the man behind the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad .

Around 8pm US EDT Wednesday, shortly after news of Jobs' passing was made public, Twitter was handling 6,049 tweets per second, according to Twitter spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz.

"I'm surprised at the number of tweets it got, but I guess I shouldn't be," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research. "Social networks are increasingly the de facto place for people to go to when they want to share information. Twitter is perfect for this type of thing."

While Wednesday night didn't set a record for Twitter traffic, it was one of the site's highest number of tweets per second ever recorded.

Horwitz noted that early last May, the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden set a record at that time with a peak of 5,106 tweets per second.

When Brazil was eliminated from the international soccer tournament Copa America in July, Twitter saw 7,166 tweets per second. The current record is 8,868 tweets per second, which was set during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in August, Horwitz noted.

Shawn White, vice president of operations at Keynote Systems, an Internet and mobile monitoring company, told Computerworld that the surge in Twitter traffic after Job's death was staggering.

"We saw it with the death of Michael Jackson and the inauguration of President Obama. Sometimes sites just get overwhelmed," White said. "The pattern we saw [with Twitter] was that things hummed a long pretty normally and then right after the announcement of Steve Jobs' passing, the site slowed."

He noted that the time to access Twitter's homepage for many users went from 3 seconds to 20 or 30 seconds. The site increasingly struggled under the load, with the first error hitting at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Then the availability of Twitter's homepage dropped nearly 40% between 8:50 and 9:05, according to Keynote.

"During that 15-minute period, roughly 60% of Twitter users would have gotten some kind of error trying to get to the home page. And if they got there, it was probably really slow," White said. "But Twitter recovered pretty quickly."

Facebook declined to report their traffic numbers for Wednesday night. Keynote did not detect any site slowdowns or outages for the social network.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleNetworkingCIO roleMacintoshWeb 2.0 and Web AppstwitterIT LeadershipIT managementFacebookApple

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?