Osama Bin Laden vs. Michael Jackson: Whose Death Got More Twitter Chatter?

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Left Image: PhilipRood.com"//Flickr | Right image: Kecko/Flickr



Like many people around the world, we learned about the death of Osama bin Laden not from a newspaper or TV, but from social networking sites, specifically Twitter. Standing in a long line for a movie, the news slowly rippled up and down the crowd, as people checked and then rechecked their smartphones in disbelief.

Later, we stayed up late watching as millions weighed in via Twitter about the death of the presumed architect of the 9/11 attacks. (There was even an IT consultant in Pakistan who unknowingly tweeted the assassination raid.)

The last time we remember Twitter exploding from a world news event was in the summer of 2009, when Michael Jackson died. But whose death got more cyber attention? Curious, we turned to Trendrr, a real-time metrics company, to see which international figure's death generated more Twitter traffic.

It turns out that, at least from what Trendrr can tell, bin Laden is generating more Twitter traffic -- by far.

"I remember when the death of Michael Jackson happened and mentions of his name on Twitter broke the threshold of 1 million tweets in a day," spokesman Jason Damata says.

Today we watched mentions of the hashtag #osama, which nearly choked our poor Tweetdeck client. According to our very rough math, we saw some 2,000 mentions of #osama within one minute. If that rate is holding firm, that would result in nearly 2.8 million uses of the #osama hashtag in just one day. This doesn't even account for the mutiple hashtags being used for the event, including #obl, #abbottabad, and #osamabinladen.

Twitter itself confirms that the news has pushed the microblogging giant into record-breaking traffic territory, with its @twitterglobalpr writing early this morning:

Last night saw the highest sustained rate of Tweets ever. From 10:45 p.m. to 2:20 a.m. ET(eastern time), there was an average of 3,000 tweets per second. At 11 p.m. ET, there were 5,106 tweets per second. At 11:45 p.m. ET, when President Obama finished his remarks, there were 5,008 tweets per second. An even more precise update: Twitter averaged 3,440 tweets per second from 10:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET last night.

Twitter also released the following graph showing the tweets-per-second data:

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Of course, this doesn't conclusively prove that bin Laden's death is a larger story than that of a pop icon like Jackson. One fact to consider is that Twitter's user base has more than doubled since Jackson's death. Twitter had an estimated 75 million users at the end of 2009, but that number has grown closer to 200 million to date.

Still, Damata says, "This is the most massive thing I've ever seen in three years of tracking Twitter."

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly.

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SC3441
SC3441

Considering that twitter is over 2x the size it was in 2009 it's not surprising that Bin Laden generated more tweets. 

It's not really a news story though, except for tech geeks who follow twitter I suppose.

Trin930
Trin930

Michael jackson vs osama. Of course osama's gonna beat that record doesn't make him better then mj. The differnce is eveybody was sad and hurt by mj's death and happy and greatful by osama's death. Who wudnt be talking more about sumthing that makes them happy

K_sriskumar
K_sriskumar

World lost one of the wonder..."Michael dead is most unlimited lost forever.."

LayD
LayD

WTF!!! Found this posted on hoax slayer and other places!!http://www.hoax-slayer.com/mic...

Fiction is stranger than truth.I love fiction so let me tell you a short story. As a former insider, I will tell you what really happened to him and then I will sit back and smile because even though you were told the truth most of you will still see it as fiction because you can not see the obvious in front of you now. But that's ok because some of you want and need to know. I want no part of this anymore and I told him and his people this long ago. I also told them that if he didn't put an end to this now that I would spill the beans and tell all. There are three of us, actually, who have seen this go on far too long now and we got out because he has totally lost it and we no longer can stand by and watch his fans suffer like this. He did some things in his past that was never supposed to be made public and was in debt worse than most realize or what the media has reported. Out of desperation, he borrowed some money from some really bad people. These people make loan sharks and the mafia look like kindergarten. They discovered his hidden past secret and they gave him a finite amount of time to pay up or they would expose it all and some bad things would happen. In desperation, he and his legal friends cooked up a plan to fake his death. The truth is that they knew the fans would be so devastated by his death that they would buy anything and everything they put out there with his name or likeness on it. They had seen this happen before with other popular artists who faked their deaths so they knew it would work because he was even more popular, his fans are the most obsessed and blindly defend him without question which worked in his favor. Quite the smart manipulator he is. The public at large and non-fans wouldn't care so there was no worry about them and the media doesn't do real investigative work anymore so that was not a threat either. The goal was to scam the fans out of enough money that they would then use to pay off his debts. It's not illegal per say because something of value was being exchanged for money the fans spent on CD's movies, memorabilia, etc., but it's not exactly moral either because this is money they would not have spent had he not faked his death. You need to understand that he was very desperate and the trials of his past have changed him now. He doesn't care about the world, his fans or people anymore like he used to. He's very cold and bitter now. Desperate people do desperate things. The plan included all kinds of diversions and distractions all designed to keep the smart fans from seeing the truth right in front of their eyes. The doctor in this story is, in fact, the fall guy but not for the people who his family claim but rather for him. The doc is being paid a huge amount of money even if he does go to jail for a murder that never took place. Most of what you see reported is not real and many authorities are in on this or there would have been a real investigation by now. The family knows what is going on and won't say because they are protecting him but they are also on their own now and having to support themselves for the very first time. There is a rift between him and the family as well. There was a real deceased body used, however it was not him and the coroner knows who it is but is also in on it. A special team of mind benders would handle anyone who got too close to the truth and several did but were harassed so much that they disappeared. The plan also meant that he could never again return or he would have to answer to too many questions and scrutiny. The hoax clues that the fans have picked up on were planted and purposely designed to keep them distracted from the obvious. It worked like a charm and still to this day the fans throw money at every piece of junk he rolls out. He finds this amusing and loves to make fun of them. Originally the plan was to rake in enough money to keep the loan sharks at bay but when so much money poured in he and his legal friends got greedy and decided to string out the hoax for as long as they can to earn even more. This is when the three of us decided to exit. I feel for his fans because most of them naively beLIEve he will return and there within lies the LIE itself. Now you know...Truth is stranger than fiction.

meanqueenland
meanqueenland

They comparing this monster to a celebrity? A person that never killed a living soul but this man did thousands not mention his own people as well . And what does this has to do with Michael? This is insult to mike and his family . Stop comparing Michael to every freaking thing that's jumps off major and yes they are dummy's .

____
____

We should look beyond mere totals - we should evaluate the quality of the tweets. For MJ there was a profound sense of loss and genuine sorrow. For bin laden, there was elation, celebration and an unequivocal sense that justice was done.

Never2findsia
Never2findsia

michael jackson death news crashed google yahoo twitter 9 of the 11 major site and stop comparing evil man with pure soul like michael u dumb iliterate media ppl

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

"u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl""u dumb iliterate media ppl"

Rey
Rey

but i honestly doubt many countries cared of bin laden death, this is western news,, but the very big of western news. countries in south america and africa etc, it wasen't as big as jackson, maybe on twitter but that again is a a western thing yet both death were crazy, only the mj death was sad, bin laden death is happy news, even though i would like to say that no death should be a good thing, and i honestly feel we are celebrating because we KNOW we better do it know because from here on in, we will (americans) will be attacked etc

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michael rullless

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michael rullless

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