Twitter, which filed to go public on Thursday, saw a flurry of activity from Japanese youth on Aug. 3 after the television airing of “Castle in the Sky,” a classic 1986 anime, helping the microblogging site set a new record.
According to an official Twitter blog post, the site hit 143,199 tweets a second at one point -- more than 25 times the average of 5,700 tweets a second -- as an increasing number of people, especially youngsters in Japan, took to the site to discuss the anime.
This is not the first time the Japanese anime has set a record for Twitter. In 2011, a screening of the movie recorded 25,088 tweets a second, beating a record set by Beyoncé Knowles’ pregnancy announcement at the MTV Video Music Awards in the same year. The pregnancy announcement triggered 8,868 tweets every second, Twitter announced at the time.
The latest traffic record shows Twitter has come a long way since it was launched in 2008 and faced questions about its future at a time when traditional print media and websites were still the main source of news, and the public nature of tweets was believed to hamper the site's popularity.
“It has a lot to do with cultural norms like privacy,” Brett Petersen, director of stream intelligence at Global Web Index, told FT. “Japan has always been one of the outliers in the region.”
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Today, Japan is considered one of Twitter’s biggest international markets based on number of users. A turning point for Twitter, according to the newspaper, was the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, when a number of people turned to the site to get updates and pass on information about what was happening in the affected areas.
“Twitter seems to have the pulse when it comes to what’s happening in the moment,” Debra Aho Williamson, a social media marketing analyst at eMarketer, a U.S. research group, told FT. Takuya Kawaguchi, a 26-year-old investor, added: “The appeal of a global social network seems to outweigh the appeal of a social network only in the country you live in.”