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Videos: Japan tweets spread post-Earthquake

Nowadays, it seems, most major events can't pass without being Facebooked, Tumblr'd or tweeted ad infinitum. But sometimes, to see it illustrated, is truly a sight to behold. Here, Miguel Rios, a software engineer at Twitter who builds  tools to visualize and analyze datasets, created a video, shown below, that displays worldwide retweets of tweets originating in Japan for one hour after its catastrophic March 11 earthquake. (Senders’ original tweets are shown in red; tweets retweeted by their followers in the hour after the event are displayed in green.)

The official Twitter blog reveals that the volume of tweets sent per second spiked to more than 5,000 "five separate times after the quake and ensuing tsunami." Seen here, you can see the spread of information like some kind of mega-zombie apocalypse raining down on the world. 

But the tweets also served to connect loved ones trying frantically to find out the status of their relatives and friends in Japan right after the quake hit. Twitter's blog post mentioned that they documented a 500 percent increase in personal message tweets from Japan in those moments. "The video below shows the volume of @replies traveling into and out of Japan in a one-hour period just before and then after the earthquake. Replies directed to users in Japan are shown in pink; messages directed at others from Japan are shown in yellow."

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