Beyoncé’s “baby bump” is more popular than football…on Twitter

Star's MTV VMA awards performance smashes traffic records on the social network

Apparently Beyoncé is pregnant…

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I’ll admit, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock that doesn’t have 3G coverage or a regular paperboy, this news will probably not come as a shock to you.  

However, what may mildly surprise you is just how interested TV-viewing internet folk seem to be in the actress and singer’s unborn child.

Indeed, for some days #beyonceispregnant and #beyonceschild have been trending off the scale all over the world on Twitter, but it appears the irresistible combination of a TV awards ceremony and a “baby bump” have sent the Twitterati and television viewers into overdrive.

On Sunday night, Ms Knowles sang at the MTV Music Awards ceremony in LA.  But as if that wasn’t exciting enough, after completing her performance of Love on Top, the 29-year-old unbuttoned her blazer to caress the early stages of a “baby bump” that she and rapper husband Jay Z, 41, had made earlier.

At that instant (10:30pm EST in the US), Twitter exploded into action, recording its highest level of traffic since the social network opened for business in 2006 – an astonishing 8,668 tweets per second.  Of course not all of the tweets related to Mrs Jay Z, but Twitter sources told me that it’s “big events like her baby announcement that drive enough additional simultaneous usage that records get broken.”

And it wasn’t just on Twitter that milestones were being passed.  MTV smashed its own US viewing records as (perhaps inspired by Beyoncé’s Twitter splash) 12.4 million people tuned in to watch the VMA show.  

So there you have it, at last an answer to the age-old question “what is the ultimate combination of social media and cable TV?”… a singer in the early stages of pregnancy.

Well, anyway, I’m sure you’re dying to know who held the previous Twitter traffic record, aren’t you? 

I can tell you, it was the penalty shootout at the end of the Women’s World Cup Final earlier this year.  However, for all you stat-junkies out there, I can go nine times better than that.  I’ve taken the liberty of asking the good people at Twitter for their entire top ten… and they sent 11.

… I’m not entirely sure what this list says about humanity, or people who use social networks, so have a look and make up your own mind:   

Top 11 highest traffic moments on Twitter 

1. 2011 MTV Video Music Awards (August 2011): 8,868 tweets per second
Beyoncé reveals her pregnancy after her performance

2. End of FIFA Women’s World Cup (July 2011): 7,196 tweets per second
USA v Japan

3. Brazil eliminated from the Copa America (July 2011): 7,166 tweets per second

4. New Year’s Eve 2010 in Japan:  6,939 tweets per second

5. 2011 BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards (June 2011): 6,436 tweets per second

6. UEFA Champions League (May 2011): 6,303 tweets per second
Spiked when Rooney scored for Manchester United and made it 1-1 v Barcelona

7. UEFA Champions League (May 2011) : 6,277 tweets per second
Villa scores for @FCBarcelona and put Barcelona up 3-1 over Manchester United

8. Japanese earthquake and tsunami (March 2011): 5,530 tweets per second
Usage passed 5,000 tweets per second five times that day

9. 2011 NBA Finals (final game, June 2011): 5,531 tweets per second
Usage passed 5,000 tweets per second five times during the final game

10. East Coast earthquake (August, 2011): 5,449 tweets per second

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11. Osama Bin Laden’s death (May 2011): 5,106 tweets per second
After President Obama’s remarks, there were 5,008 tweets per second
Event saw the highest sustained rate of tweets ever: Twitter averaged 3,440 tweets per second from 10:45pm to 12:30am ET on the night Bin Laden’s death was announced