In case you live under a rock, or in a multi-acre off-the-grid "luxury" Pakistani compound, Osama Bin Laden is officially dead and accounted for, thanks to a successful Covert Ops mission yesterday. Not only did the news start pouring in on Twitter before mainstream media had time to compose stories and segments of greater than 140 characters, but the announcement saw the highest sustained tweets per second (TPS) ever.
The above is the "first" tweet that alerted the Twitterverse to the impending media onslaught, posted 10:25PM EST May 1, yesterday by Keith Urbahn, former Chief of Staff for Donal Rumsfeld, himself the former Secretary of Defense under the George W. Bush administration, one that made the search for Bin Laden a primary ideological focus. It seems that the news itself was actually broken, retroactively, by a resident of Abbottabad, Soahib Athar (Twitter user @reallyvirtual).
At 11PM EST, the announcement of Bin Laden's death came in at over 5000 TPS, outdoing every other major Twitter event in the social network's history with the exception of the Japanese New Year's Eve 2010, which peaked at over 6000 TPS. The Bin Laden announcement however sustained a 3,440 TPS for over 3 hours, the longest and highest sustained TPS ratio.
Other notable Twitter events include last week's Royal Wedding (now sixth all-time), the Japanese Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami (peak of 5,330 TPS) and the 2011 Super Bowl (peak of 4,440 TPS). See the gallery for a graph of last night's Twitter activity, courtesy of TechCrunch.