Twitter, as it grows ever larger and has ever more intensive demands on its infrastructure, has gotten the the habit of announcing when its userbase has reached a new height of activity, because they, rightfully, want us to know how hard they work. The cause of this newest tweets per second record is a familiar one, but what’s surprising is how high it’s set the bar for future contenders. The old record? 33,388 tweets in one second. The new?
143,199 tweets in a single second.
Both of the aforementioned records were broken primarily with traffic from Japan, the smaller one in the wee hours of January 1st, a perennial moment of high Twitter traffic, when the phrase “ake-ome” (a shortened way to say Happy New Year in Japanese) was the largest part of the spike. But the new record was set during a national airing of the Hayao Miyazaki film Laputa or Castle in the Sky. In Laputa, main characters Sheeta and Pazu invoke a spell that destroys a source of great power, the flying city of Laputa, so that it won’t fall into the hands of an evil man, by saying a single, tweetable word
The last time Laputa aired nationally in Japan, it was 2011, and Japanese fans of the film also set a new tweets per second record of 11,349, a number that seems puny in comparison to now. The tradition among Miyazaki fans, of tweeting “balus” or “balse” in time with the movie’s climax, has apparently spread since. The Japanese Twitter accounts of major businesses like Amazon.com, PlayStation, Nissan, and KFC even played along with buttons on their pages. The tradition itself began on anime message boards in the early 2000s, spreading easily to Twitter.
While a new high score in tweets per second isn’t exactly a moon landing in terms of human achievements, I still think it’s pretty cool that it happened not because of celebrity baby or a disaster, but because of a bunch of folks who like a particular story a whole lot.