Twitter's velocity is apparent when you look at the 24-hour Twitter stream of @reallyvirtual, the witty, humorous IT consultant who unknowingly chronicled the siege on Osama Bin Laden. I started taking screen shots of @reallyvirtual Twitter stream on Sunday night, just as worldwide Twitter usage began to peak following U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement that Bin Laden had been killed by U.S. special forces. The explosive increase in followers for @reallyvirtual mirrored the speed at which people were tweeting. It was one of the signals that pointed to the record volume of tweets we were going to see over the next several hours.
@reallyvirtual's real name is Sohaib Athar. He lives in Abbottabad Lahore Pakistan. It just so happens that was where Bin Laden lived too. Athar was on Twitter when the firefight began on Bin Laden's compound. He was live tweeting, unaware of the significance of what he was chronicling.
What followed became a news events for the world and a new record for Twitter. According to Twitter public relations, the tweet stream peaked from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. PST
During that time, Athar's @reallyvirtual Twitter stream showed some amazing growth. At 10:37 p.m. @reallyvirtual had 1,471 followers:
By 10:53 p.m. PST, the @reallyvirtual account had more than doubled:
At 11:17 p.m. the follower count had doubled again:
By 12:16 a.m., @reallyvirtual had passed the 11,000 mark:
By morning, @reallyvirtual had more than 36,000 followers:
By the afternoon, the count hit 72,000 followers and last night after 10 p.m., the account showed 90,000 followers.
AS of this writing, @reallyvirtual has 94,000 followers. That's quite a run and shows the speed at wich these new services affect people. The cloud is all about this velocity and its impact on us at an individual level.