With Twitter regularly hosting more than 200 million messages every day, we know that the short-form messaging service has grown into something that rivals any other form of electronic communication that we have at our disposal. And that's just on an average day. When major news breaks, a disaster strikes or an event of world-wide interest takes place, traffic on Twitter spikes.
"During major events, people use Twitter to share news and thoughts with friends, family and followers around the world," according to a recent post on Twitter's official blog. "Messages originating in one place are quickly spread across the globe through Retweets, @replies and Direct Messages. We see this behavior during everything from sporting events like the World Cup to widely-televised news events like the royal wedding, and also in the face of major disasters like the March 11 earthquake in Japan, where the volume of Tweets sent per second spiked to more than 5,000 TPS five separate times after the quake and ensuing tsunami."
Twitter put together a short video to illustrate what the global spread of information looked like in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Japan. The video, embedded below, shows the flow of @replies into and out of Japan before the earthquake hit and immediately after. Because replies directed at Twitter users based in Japan are displayed in pink and messages leaving Japan are shown in yellow, the island nation is transformed into a glowing fireball of activity almost immediately after the quake.
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