A new tweets per second record has been set. No there wasn’t a world-shifting news event or sporting triumph you were unaware of, the film Castle in the Sky just aired on Japanese television.
According to an official blog post from Twitter, people watching an airing of the film on 3 August took to Twitter so much that it hit a one-second peak of 143 199 Tweets per second.This isn’t the first time the Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece has taken the top spot. Back in December 2011, it unseated Beyonce Knowles’ record with a 25 088 Tweets per second spell, very impressive at the time.
The movie was released in 1986 and was written and directed by Miyazaki, who was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Miyazaki’s most popular movie is arguably 2001′s Spirited Away.
For a bit more context, Twitter usually takes in more than 500-million tweets a day which means about 5 700 Tweets a second, on average. This particular spike was around 25 times greater than its steady state.
There was a time, of course, when Twitter wouldn’t have been able to deal with that level of activity. The fail whale would’ve appeared long before a spike of the magnitude achieved by Castle in the Sky without the fail whale making an appearance.
The social network’s Raffi Krikorian admits as much:
This goal felt unattainable three years ago, when the 2010 World Cup put Twitter squarely in the center of a real-time, global conversation. The influx of Tweets –– from every shot on goal, penalty kick and yellow or red card –– repeatedly took its toll and made Twitter unavailable for short periods of time. Engineering worked throughout the nights during this time, desperately trying to find and implement order-of-magnitudes of efficiency gains. Unfortunately, those gains were quickly swamped by Twitter’s rapid growth, and engineering had started to run out of low-hanging fruit to fix.
Krikorian spends the rest of the post explaining exactly how it managed to make the turnaround. It’s pretty interesting if code and software architecture get you hot under the sheets.