Whitney Houston passes way, Twitter activity explodes

Whitney Houston's surprising and untimely death created a situation that truly displayed the power of social media.

Mashable reports that Houston was pronounced dead at approximately 3:55 p.m. Pacific Time, with the first official tweet regarding her death coming from The Associated Press at 4:57 p.m, according to data from Topsy labs. However, a tweet from a user named "AjaDiorNavy," who allegedly has an aunt that worked for Houston, made the first reported tweet about a half hour earlier. 

This speaks to the power of Twitter as a source for breaking news, not just as an outlet for improving a company's local search engine optimization campaigns.

The AP tweet was retweeted more than 10,000 times, and there were about 2.5 million tweets and retweets regarding Houston's death within the first hour of the story breaking. Topsy labs estimated there are more than 1,000 tweets per second about the event.

However, Houston's death paled in comparison to the Twitter reaction from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' passing. According to the blog for social media consultant Jeff Bullas, Jobs' death resulted in as many as 10,000 tweets per second.