Internet users likely broke records as they jammed Twitter with tweets marked #iSad and #ThankYouSteve and flooded Facebook's news streams Wednesday night, swiftly spreading the news of Steve Jobs's death.
Australian social media monitoring firm SR7 estimated that Twitter activity hit 10,000 tweets per second following the announcement about Apple's co-founder. That would have broken the previous record of 8,868 tweets per second set after U.S. R&B artist Beyoncé announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards in August.
"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," Peter Fraser, co-founder of SR7, told the news agency Agence-France Presse.
As of 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday, social search engine Topsy estimated that 2.8 million Tweets about Steve Jobs had been posted on Twitter. The site said mentions peaked at 4 a.m. ET Thursday, with over 468,000.
Twitter's official search listed #iSad, #ThankYouSteve, Steve Jobs's and two of Jobs's well-known catch phrases — "Think Different" and "Stay Hungry" — among its 11 trending searches.
On Google, at least eight out of 10 of the top U.S. search terms Thursday morning were Steve Jobs-related, including the name of the city were Apple is based, Cupertino, and the folk singer Jobs reportedly dated, Joan Baez.
News sites such as CNN and the Washington Post saw slowdowns on their mobile sites as people clamoured to get more information, reported Keynote, an internet and mobile cloud monitoring firm based in San Mateo, Calif.
Graphs provided by the company show long page timeouts on both mobile sites in the 40 minutes after Jobs's death was officially announced.
"While the news sites connected to the internet via high speed fixed line pipes appeared to have been minimally affected, mobile devices have much smaller connections/pipes to the internet," explained Shawn White, Keynote's vice-president of operations, in a statement.