Topsy: Instant social insight

2.5M tweets an hour as news of Whitney Houston’s death spreads

February 12, 2012

UPDATE 2: The news was first broken in an even earlier tweet, at 4.15 pm, by @ajadiornavy, a relative of a hotel worker who reportedly found Whitney Houston: ”omgg , my aunt tiffany who work for whitney houston just found whitney houston dead in the tub . such ashame & sad :-( “. This tweet was in Topsy’s index, but we didn’t notice it at first – we stopped looking further when we found the other tweets that broke the story before AP. Original blog post below…

News of singer Whitney Houston’s death spread like wildfire on Twitter since the news broke with a tweet from Associated Press at 4.57 pm. AP’s tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times, as you can see on Topsy’s trackback page for the tweet. UPDATE: Using Topsy tools, we found that the story was broken on Twitter 27 minutes before AP by @chilemasgrande in this tweet:My sources say Whitney Houston found dead in Beverly hills hotel.. Not in the news yet!!“. As of this update, this tweet had only been retweeted once. A case of a Twitter user breaking news before the press, caught in action! Original blog post continues below…

The first full hour after the news broke saw 2,481,652 tweets and retweets, peaking at 61,227 tweets at 5.23 pm (all times are PST). That is over a thousand tweets a second, not quite as much as during the Superbowl but still a lot.

The most retweeted article after the news broke was from MSNBC, with 13 thousand tweets linking to it. Friends, musicians and celebrities tweeted out their condolences, each of them getting retweeted thousands of times: Rapper Lil Wayne has the record, with over 29,000 retweets as of the time of writing this post. Others who were widely retweeted include: Justin Bieber (15,000), Nicki Minaj (8,739), Katy Perry (8,394), Mariah Carey (6,305) and Christina Aguillera (4,321).

Hundreds of thousands of people mourned her passing away, posting to Twitter links to over 3,000 video recordings of Whitney Houston’s songs.

At Topsy, we have built the world’s largest and most powerful search and analytics platform for social media, allowing our users to monitor and track breaking events and emerging trends on the public consumer website, as well as through commercial offerings. As more events unfold on social media, we believe that Topsy will be an increasingly valuable way to rapidly gain insights into what is going on.

Posted by rishab