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Twitter on Osama: 'Highest sustained rates of Tweets ever'


Click on the graphic from Twitter to enlarge.

Further evidence that Twitter played a huge role in spreading the word about the death of Osama bin Laden both before, during and after it was announced by President Barack Obama: A chart done by Twitter showing a spike in tweets related to bin Laden and the president's speech Sunday night.

Twitter said messages posted were the "highest sustained rates of Tweets ever," from 10:45 p.m. ET Sunday to 12:20 am., with Twitter averaging 3,000 tweets per second during that time.

News of Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March "had bigger spikes for more hours, but not for a significant sustained period."

Journalism education organization Poynter noted: "Word of Osama bin Laden’s death spread on Twitter about 45 minutes before President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. had killed the terrorist leader."

The first "credible information that Obama would announce bin Laden’s death came at 10:25 p.m. from Keith Urbahn, chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wrote Al Tompkins, senior faculty member at Poynter. "Urbahn tweeted, 'So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.' " 

A Mashable poll lends credence to Twitter's growing power (although yes, Mashable is a site that covers social networking, so results may be skewed because of that), asking readers how they heard about the news. With more than 20,000 votes as of Tuesday morning PT, 30 percent said they heard about it via Twitter, 20 percent via Facebook, 17 percent by watching TV, and nearly 15 percent by instant message, phone or text, with 18 percent citing "other" sources.

Bin Laden-related tweets from Sunday did not set a record, though, in terms of tweets per second. That title is still held by New Year's 2011 wishes from those in Japan, Twitter notes, when "just four seconds after midnight ... Twitterers set an all-time record in the number of Tweets sent per second (TPS) ... At that moment, the world sent a staggering 6,939 TPS wishing friends and followers a fond ...'Happy New Year!' " in Japanese.

Update: Twitter also said Tuesday afternoon PT that "at exactly" 11 p.m. ET Sunday, "there were 5,106 tweets per second," and at 11:45 p.m. ET, when the president finished his remarks, there were 5,008 tweets per second.

Other Twitter trivia: "Last Friday's royal wedding reached a peak of 3,996 tweets per second at 4 p.m. London time," and on March 11, the day of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, "usage peaked at 5,530 tweets per second. That was one of five times that day when usage passed the 5,000 TPS mark."

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