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Steve Jobs death ‘biggest event in internet history’

The online outpouring of grief around Steve Jobs’ death could see it become the most talked about event in internet history. That’s according to Australian internet monitoring firm SR7.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter sagged under the weight of Jobs-related posts. In the wake of Jobs’ passing, five of the top ten topics trending worldwide on Twitter were about the Apple pioneer, including #ThankYouSteve, #iSad and #RIPSteveJobs .

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Two of his catchphrases, “Think Different” and “Stay Hungry” were also top of the trends, with the chatter so immense it caused Twitter to seize up, dispatching its famous “fail whale” to indicate a traffic jam.

SR7’s analysts estimated that chatter around Jobs’ death had hit 10 000 tweets per second and was likely to rise.

“It has the potential to pass the all-time social media interactivity level, particularly on the Twitter platform where it will probably be in excess of 10 000 tweets per second,” Peter Fraser, co-founder of Australian social media monitoring agency said.

“We’re awaiting the official Twitter data to be released; however, from the numbers that we’ve been monitoring through the day since the announcement it’s certainly been trending to break that record.”

Jobs’ death will likely beat out the present record of 8 868 tweets per second, which was set when US singer Beyonce announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Other previous record holders include Japan beating USA in the women’s soccer World Cup finals in July (7196 tweets per second), the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March (5530 tweets per second), the killing of Osama Bin Laden (5 00 tweets per second) and the British royal wedding (3966 tweets per second).

Fraser said the response to Jobs’ death was an “extraordinary phenomenon”, driven by posts from an unprecedented number of celebrities, politicians and other influential figures — each with massive online followings of their own.

“What you’re seeing across platforms is a remarkable level of interactivity,” he said.

“When you look at the kinds of people that are commenting … it is a plethora of highly influential people around the world, each of whom have enormous followings in their own right, who are really building that momentum.”

The news has gained momentum throughout the day.

Along with posts by large numbers of influential figures Twitter’s immense growth is at least partially responsible for the activity around Jobs’ death.

As an illustration of this, Michael Jackson’s 2009 death only produced around 493 tweets per second, which was still enough to crash the site.

Twitter ended that year with around 75-million users. Since then its user base has more than doubled and is more than 200-million strong.

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