The sad news of Steve Jobs’ death quickly passed around the internet after it broke on Wednesday, with millions taking to social media to share the story as well as their memories of the man and his legacy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, what resulted was the largest online reaction to any event in recent history, according to new figures just released.
Jobs’ death resulted in around 10,000 tweets per second immediately following the news; to put that in some perspective, the previous “biggest Twitter event” had been the announcement of Beyonce’s pregnancy at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, which had generated 8,868 tweets per second. News of Osama Bin Laden’s death prompted just 5,000 tweets per second by comparison.
(MORE: Twitter Mourns Steve Jobs)
The information was reported by social media monitoring company SR7; James Griffin, a partner in the company, suggested that the figures show not only the scale of the reaction to Jobs’ passing, but also a sign of the growth of Twitter as a communication medium: “Twitter data shows that in 2007, global usage was at 5000 tweets per day – it is incredible to now see over 5000 tweets per second in times of significant international events,” he told the Age.
To further demonstrate the growth of Twitter over the last few years, when Michael Jackson’s death was announced in 2009, that prompted just 493 tweets per second, which was still enough to crash the servers for some time.
MORE: Steve Jobs: 1955-2011
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.