Bin Laden and Twitter: Tracking major moments through ones and zeroes
News of Osama bin Laden's death broke on Twitter, and drove up Web traffic worldwide.
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Meanwhile, as news of bin Laden's death trickled out –– and as the TV networks struggled to fill the very long hour before President Barack Obama took to the podium, to actually confirm the raid –– Internet traffic soared. Users clicked sites such as Reuters.com and NYTimes.com millions of times, chasing down rumors, and following the latest dispatches from reporters in the field.Skip to next paragraph
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CNN points out that the phrase "osama bin laden dead" hit "volcanic" on Google Trends –– the kind of traffic explosion usually reserved for Apple devices. (It's worth noting, however, that bin Laden's death did not yield nearly as many clicks as the World Cup, or even the royal wedding. So, Web users have their priorities, obviously! Cake and soccer before terrorist raids.)
But it was Twitter where the real action took place. According to CNN, between 10:45 p.m. EST on Sunday night and 2:20 a.m. on Monday morning, Twitter users logged an incredible 3,000 tweets per second. Which is a lot, but again, not quite enough to break records: Twitter says that during the March 11 earthquake and the arrival of the 2011 new year in Japan, users sent 5,530 tweets-per-second and 6,939 tweets-per-second, respectively.
And there may be more to come. Over at Gawker, reporter John Cook notes that the White House could eventually be forced –– one way or another –– into distributing a photo of bin Laden's corpse. In the hours after the firefight, fake images from the compound leaked out across the Web, drawing plenty of clicks. A real, authenticated White House photograph would likely send the Web into overdrive all over again.
Does the Google Trends "hotness" scale go past "volcanic"?
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