the upset Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos pulled off over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night. Tebow's 80-yard pass on the first play of overtime ended up generating 9,420 tweets per second -- the most ever for a sporting event and the third most of all-time.There has been a lot of noise in tech circles about
People tend to get excited every time one of these records fall - already in 2012, the second and third most tweeted about events of all time have been recorded (the start of the New Year in Japan weighed in at 16,127 tweets per second and crashed Twitter's servers). But as I watch stories about each record falling, I can hear the words of my very first editor at the very first newspaper I worked at.
Because that editor was the kind of guy who didn't like to waste readers' times with non-news stories. When someone told us something was a story, he questioned it. And the Twitter record stories, which happen every few months or even every few weeks, are worth questioning.
The oldest event on the Top 10 list was in May 2011 -- Barcelona defeating Manchester United is still holding in at number nine. No Japanese Earthquake, no Arab Spring, and no death of Osama bin Laden. Even the death of Steve Jobs, now at number 10, is one big event away from falling off the top 10 list.
And here's why: Twitter is still growing, and more people using Twitter means more people tweeting about the big (and not-so-big) events that tie us together. We all know this, yet we all seem to collectively forget that when we rush to read or cover the latest X-number of tweets per second event.
Last March, as the company marked its fifth anniversary, Twitter said it had about 100 million active users logging in each month. Twitter users were sending about a billion tweets per week; compare that to the the three years, two months and one day it took Twitter to record its first billion tweets.
At some point Twitter will hit a critical mass and its growth will level off. And the current marker of a once-in-a-lifetime event - the "I remember where I was when I first heard about..." factor may very well be replaced someday with the "I remember what I tweeted when I first heard about...."
Until then, however, these tweets-per-second records are going to continue be interesting side notes. But are they really worth the more than 5,000 news stories and blog posts that have been written about Tebow's record-breaking performance since Sunday night?
Photo by Jeffrey Beall.