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The record for most Tweets in a single second has been set, and weirdly enough it's because of a movie playing on TV. Time Magazine is reporting that on August 3rd a television station aired Hayao Miyazaki’s animated classic Castle in the Sky and at 10:21:50 a.m. Eastern Time (or 11:21:50 p.m. Japan Standard Time) 143,199 Tweets per second were sent out simultaneously, shattering the previous Twitter record set back in 2011.
According to the magazine, it's become a tradition in the Asian nation for viewers of Castle In The Sky to Tweet the word "Balse," a line from the movie, at a particular moment during the film when it's being shown on TV. The last time this event happened was in 2011 and established the previous record of 11,349 that this most recent "Balse Fest" broke. Before that, the bar was set by Beyonce announcing her pregnancy at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards - though with only 8,868 Tweets-per-second that moment looks mighty small compared to what happened earlier this month.
The ridiculous one-second spike in the number of Tweets per second was caught by the folks behind the social media tool, who then took to the site's official blog to both comment on what happened and show off a graph depicting the event:
According to the site, Twitter hosts more than 500 million Tweets per day and about 5,700 Tweets a second. For one second during the screening of Castle In The Sky these numbers skyrocketed to about 25 times their normal rate. As insane as those numbers are, however, the site managed to keep running without resulting in the infamous "Fail Whale" - a reference to the image of birds carrying a whale in a net that users get when Twitter is over capacity. Said Twitter on their blog,
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.
For educational purposes you can watch the scene from Castle In The Sky below, but be warned of spoilers!