East Coast Earthquake 2011: Twitter Faster than Seismic Waves?

  @http://www.twitter.com/entnewsnow on August 24 2011 8:28 AM
  • PHOTOS: East Coast Earthquake Sends Strong Warning Messages
    Office workers evacuated from buildings near Foley Square stand outside in New York Reuters
  • East Coast Earthquake 2011
    A spire atop the Washington National Cathedral shows damage following an earthquake along the eastern United States Reuters
  • Earthquake
    People stand outside the World Bank headquarters building in Washington after evacuating following an earthquake, August 23, 2011. An unusually strong and shallow earthquake hit the U.S. East Coast and Canada, shaking buildings, forcing evacuation of office buildings in several cities and delaying flights in New York. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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While the East Coast earthquake caused quite a frenzy on Tuesday, Twitter experienced a significant spike following news of the 5.9 magnitude shake-up.

Through its own Twitter account, @Twitter, the social media site confirmed the nearly record-breaking numbers.

Within a minute of today's #earthquake, there were more than 40,000 earthquake-related Tweets, the company wrote Tuesday evening.

And, we hit about 5,500 Tweets per second (TPS). For context, this TPS is more than Osama Bin Laden's death & on par w/ the Japanese quake, Twitter added.

As of Tuesday evening, Hurricane Irene, Washington Monument and Will and Jada were trending topics on Twitter. Gone were the terms that dominated hours earlier, including Earthquake in DC, A 5.9 and FELT IT.

The earthquake, originating in Richmond, Va., reached parts of Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, New York City and even eastern Canada.

No major injuries have been reported since the two p.m. earthquake.

Witnesses of the quake were quick to use Twitter as phone circuits became clogged in the affected areas.

I saw the tweets from DC about earthquake, then 15 seconds later felt it in NYC. Social media is faster than seismic waves! wrote Brooklyn resident Jesse Friedman.

Twitter echoed Friedman's statement some three hours later.

Are Tweets faster than seismic waves? We can't speak to speed of seismic waves, but a Tweet can reach your followers in less than a second, the company wrote in its first post-earthquake Tweet.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also used Twitter to confirm details about the earthquake, posting about half a dozen Tweets following the quake.

Celebrities also joined in the impromptu Twitter wave.

Me on ph in my NYC hotel room uh, I think we're having an earthquake right now My Mom You're nuts, it's just windy TIP IT! wrote comedian Kathy Griffin.

Obviously, God is mad about Will and Jada, joked American Pie actor Jason Biggs.

The seismic Twitter Tuesday comes just a day after reports that the company enjoyed a record breaking 32.8 million unique visitors, up more than two million visitors from June.

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