Tweets About Steve Jobs Spike But Don’t Break Twitter Peak Record

As with Google, Twitter saw a spike in activity related to the death of Steve Jobs. However, the company said that the number of tweets per second didn’t break new records.

The Peak Records

Twitter told us that at 5pm PT yesterday, it saw 6,049 tweets per second happening at peak, with tweets continuing throughout the night and into today.

This leaves the news of Beyonce announcing her pregnancy during the MTV Video Music awards as the all-time record holder.

Records to date, for tweets per second (TPS), as peak times, as has been reported by Twitter to date:

Twitter’s Remarkable Growth As Seen By Records

To give you perspective on how much Twitter has grown — and how much is better able to handle the activity it receives, something that CEO Dick Costolo remarked upon last month — consider that when Michael Jackson died, on June 25, 2009, a new record was broken at that time – 456 TPS. Then, tweets per second in the hundreds challenged Twitter. Now, tweets per seconds nearly the 10,000 mark don’t bring it down.

True, Twitter did have problems last night. I never saw a fail whale, but there were times briefly when I had trouble sending or receiving tweets, and I saw others remark the same. But for the most part, it held up well.

“Peak” Tweets Vs “Sustained” Activity

Another thing some might wonder, as Nick Bilton did on Twitter. Really, Beyonce having a baby was seemingly more important on Twitter than the death of Steve Jobs?

It might seem so, but you also have to consider that the TPS figures are for peak times. For almost all of those record events other than Jobs, there was one moment when lots of people immediately learned about something at the same time. That makes it easy for a particular event to have a high peak.

Consider that when Beyonce shared her news, it was broadcast to millions of people who were watching TV. They immediately tweeted. The Brazil elimination was also something broadcast and happened in a particular moment. New Year’s Eve, earthquakes in Japan and on the East Coast also were largely tied to a particular peak moment.

In light of that, the Jobs figure is even more remarkable. This wasn’t an event that happened at one particular moment, that millions witnessed at once. It was a news story that started spreading virally through social media channels like Twitter.

Considered like that, the Jobs activity is a record holder of its own. The closest other viral event like that, which also had a peak record, was when Osama bin Laden’s death was reported.

At that time, Twitter also gave out a “sustained rate of tweets” figure, a period of super high activity. The bin Laden news saw a period of activity of 3,000 TPS maintained over two hours, which was a record at that time. It could be that tweets about Steve Jobs dying broke that record. I’ll see if I can learn more.

Trending On Twitter; Top Pictures

Twitter also saw many terms related to Jobs trend. Here’s how worldwide trends looked last night at 7:45pm PT:

Terms included RIP Steve Jobs, #ThankYouSteve and #iSad.

Twitter’s still relatively new Top Images feature also produces a nice collage of most shared images by those tweeting about Steve Jobs:

Related Topics: Apple | Channel: Social | Stats: General | Top News | Twitter


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Michael Dorausch

    Wow, I thought for sure it was a record. Goes to show that relying on what’s in your personal stream means little. I don’t recall seeing even single tweet about Beyonce or the MTV Music awards.

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