Twitter, the micro-blogging site started in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, sees roughly 5 billion tweets every month, according to the company.
It’s a social circle that has advertisers giddy with possibility, sparking talk of sky-high valuations on Wall Street and in secondary market circles.
What makes Twitter so popular is simple: people tweeting.
So what makes a moment worth tweeting about? The most tweeted moment in recent memory occurred earlier this month, when Apple Chairman and cultural icon Steve Jobs passed away. The site experienced traffic of more than 6,000 tweets per second, causing many users to notice system delays and slowness.
Even so, such a news-making event, especially within social networking circles, was not the most tweeted moment of all time. So what was?
The following is a list of the 10 most recent record-breaking moments on Twitter, as measured in tweets per second.
By Jesse Bergman and Gennine Kelly
Posted 19 October 2011
Tweets Per Second: 5,106
Date: May 1, 2011
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan in the spring of 2011, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
It was the biggest national security victory for President Barack Obama since he took office in early 2009 and could give him a political boost as he seeks re-election in 2012.
Former President George W. Bush, who vowed to bring bin Laden to justice "dead or alive," but never did, called the operation a "momentous achievement" after Obama called him with the news.
Besides 9/11, Washington also has linked bin Laden to a string of attacks, including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.
Tweets Per Second: 5,449
Date: Aug. 23, 2011
A 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City, and Martha's Vineyard, Mass. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep.
Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, and as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, the White House, and the Capitol building were evacuated.
Quakes on the East Coast aren’t rare, but typically are much smaller in magnitude, which means some of the country’s biggest population centers there are much less prepared for shaking than places such as California or Alaska, where large seismic events are more common.
Among the damage: The Washington National Cathedral’s three of the four pinnacles on the central tower fell off, and the Washington Monument sustained cracks and had to be closed for repairs.
Tweets Per Second: 5,531
Date: June 12, 2011
The National Basketball Association ended its season with the Dallas Mavericks defeating LeBron James’ much-hyped Miami Heat in a 105-95 victory.
Mavericks’ outspoken owner Mark Cuban, the billionaire and entrepreneur, purchased the team in 2000 for $280 million. His net worth is estimated to be at $2.3 billion, accord to Forbes magazine.
Tweets Per Second: 5,530
Date: March 14, 2011
The biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years, measured 9.0 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Service. The quake spawned a 10-meter (32-foot) tsunami that washed away entire towns.
The devastation sparked a worldwide outpouring on Twitter, making it the most tweeted moment at the time.
In addition to the massive human toll, the quake and ensuing tsunami exacted an economic toll on Japan, which is still struggling to shake the detritus of its "lost decade" brought on by economic stagnation.
Tweets Per Second: 6,303
Date: May 28, 2011
Soccer fans tweeted by the thousands during the Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United. This was a huge match between what many considered the world’s greatest soccer player, Lionel Messi, versus the world’s greatest manager, United’s Sir Alex Ferguson.
Barcelona’s 3-1 win against Manchester United gave the soccer club its fourth European title, with only Liverpool, AC Milan, and Real Madrid winning more titles.
The Union of European Football Association, formally the Champion League, is the biggest club competition in Europe. Teams from each country gain entry into the group based on a “coefficient ranking system.”
UEFA has many corporate sponsors, including Sony, Ford Motor, and Mastercard.
Tweets Per Second: 6,436
Date: June 26, 2011
The BET Awards celebrate African Americans in the areas of music, acting, sports, and other areas of entertainment. The big winner of the night this year was controversial singer Chris Brown, taking home four awards, including best male R&B artist.
There was, however, a rather big blunder during the live broadcast in which a fan incorrectly named singer Rihanna as the winner of the Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award, when Brown was the true winner. As a result, BET took to Twitter after the show to clear up any confusion.
Tweets Per Second: 6,939
Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Japan virtually shuts down as its citizens celebrate New Year’s Day with their family and close friends. This year, the Japanese flocked to Twitter, setting a record number of tweets to wish followers and friends a happy new year: “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!”
At the time, this record nearly doubled that of the previous one, set by Denmark during the 2010 World Cup.
The New Year’s epic Twitter activity was also seen around the globe in each time zone. The East Coast of the U.S. alone, at its peak, amassed 3,000 tweets per second.
Tweets Per Second: 7,166
Date: July 17, 2011
Brazil’s elimination from the quarterfinals of the Copa América, the oldest competition of soccer teams in the world, sparked record Twitter traffic as the match came down to penalty kicks.
As a result of Brazil's loss, Paraguay advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1989.
The Copa América has sponsorship from many top corporations, including LG, Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Canon, and Petrobras.
Tweets Per Second: 7,196
Date: July 17, 2011
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer final in Germany reached a fevered pitch when Japan won in a penalty shoot-out against the U.S. — a moment which drove Twitter traffic to a new high at the time of more than 7,000 tweets per second.
Based on current income and expenditure forecasts, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 was declared a financial success, and anticipated a surplus before taxes of €10.6 million ($14.5 million). FIFA has 208 member associations and employs 310 people from more than 35 nations.
Tweets Per Second: 8,868
Date: Aug. 28, 2011
Multi-platinum artist Beyoncé caused a Twitter frenzy upon revealing a “baby bump” following her performance at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Thanks to Beyoncé’s 2 million followers, among others on Twitter that night, this moment holds the top spot as the world’s most tweeted moment. It’s ironic, considering @Beyonce,as of this writing, has never actually tweeted anything.
Beyoncé’s estimated earnings were $87 million dollars, according to Forbes magazine’s ranking of the top 20 highest Hollywood earners of 2010.