Election 2012 Breaks Records With 31.7 Million Political Tweets

You simply couldn’t escape it. The social media turnout in #Election2012 was as impressive as the actual voter turnout across the country. So much so that it broke Twitter records for a US Political event:


Twitter tapped out at 31.7 million election-based Tweets that maxed out at 327,452 Tweets per minute at some points. Notable election moments according to Twitter:

  • 327,452 TPM – 11:19pm ET – Networks call Obama’s reelection
  • 85,273 TPM -11:12pm ET – IA presidential race called
  • 69,031 TPM – 9:33pm ET – PA and WI presidential races called
  • 65,106 TPM – 8:03pm ET – Polls close in various states; AP calls races for IL, CT, ME, DC, DE, RI, MD, MA

This number is minute-based (TPM), rather than the second-based data (TPS) typically provided by Twitter. If we were to estimate a TPS for the minute that networks called Obama’s reelection, it would work out to an estimated 5457.5 Tweets per second. This would place the moment well below the majority of notable events from last year — including Tim Tebow’s NFL playoff win (9,420 TPS), Beyonce’s pregnancy (8,868 TPS) and Steve Job’s death (6,049 TPS).

Back in 2008, election tweets peaked at just 229 Tweets per second.

Additionally, President Obama had the following Tweet become his most retweeted Tweet ever (currently over 625,000 retweets):


For more information on Twitter and the election, see the official Twitter Blog Post.

Postscript by Matt McGee: In a separate post on its engineering blog, Twitter talks in more detail about yesterday’s election-related activity, and more specifically about the tweets-per-second and tweets-per-minute numbers that it experienced last night:

As an engineering team, we keep an eye on all of the activity across the platform –– in particular, on the number of Tweets per second (TPS). Last night, Twitter averaged about 9,965 TPS from 8:11pm to 9:11pm PT, with a one-second peak of 15,107 TPS at 8:20pm PT and a one-minute peak of 874,560 TPM. Seeing a sustained peak over the course of an entire event is a change from the way people have previously turned to Twitter during live events.

In the past, we’ve generally experienced short-lived roars related to the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve (6,939 Tweets per second, or TPS), the end of a soccer game (7,196 TPS), or Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement (8,868 TPS). Those spikes tended to last seconds, maybe minutes at most. Now, rather than brief spikes, we are seeing sustained peaks for hours.

That explains, at least to some degree, why Twitter is talking more about tweets per minute now than tweets per second.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Politics | Social Media Marketing | Statistics: Social Media | Top News | Twitter | Twitter: Statistics


About The Author: is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

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