End Of An Era: Talk and Tribute to Steve Jobs Through Social Media

Last night I was sitting down to write a blog post about the sentiment around Apple’s iPhone event that happened on Tuesday (which wasn’t nearly as bad as you would have thought by looking at the tweets I saw in my stream). But just as I sat down to write I took a quick peek at my Twitter stream and couldn’t believe what I saw. Steve Jobs, founder and long time CEO of Apple and inspiration to geeks everywhere had passed away. I didn’t know if it was one of those Twitter rumors or not, but a quick visit to apple.com confirmed that for the second time in almost as many months I’d have to do a last minute change on what I would write about because of news about Steve Jobs.

I saw this news just after 8pm(EST) last night after not seeing anything on the internet for the past hour and a half. By then, Twitter was already exploding with people talking about the untimely passing of the tech mogul. It took a little while for the news to sink in and I spent a bit of time reading what people were saying throughout my various social networks before I decided that I need to start tracking this through our Sysomos software. At 8:30pm(EST) I used MAP and did a search for the following terms that I thought would show up or already saw people using: “steve jobs” OR stevejobs OR ripsteve OR ripjobs OR ripstevejobs OR #stevejobs OR #ripsteve OR #ripjobs OR #ripstevejobs OR #stevejobs. At this time, which was still shortly after the news broke I was already able to find 1,081 blog posts, 1,790 online news articles, 618 forum posts and 249,042 tweets containing my search terms yesterday.

It’s important that I point out at this time that while the tweets were starting to pour in about Jobs passing, a lot of those blog posts and news articles at that time were still from a bit earlier in the day and were likely talking about Jobs in relation to the Apple iPhone event from the day before. I actually pulled up a buzzgraph at this time as well to see what all the talk was currently about and found that I was right, it was too soon for it all to be about Steve’s death. The following buzzgraph shows that talk at this time was still focused around iPhones, but it changed as time went on.

I decided to keep following how the talk of this progressed as more and more people heard the news and took to social media to talk about it with their friends and peers. By 9:30pm(EST) I found that all the mediums had started to really pick up and tak about Steve Jobs. At this time there was 1,905 blog posts, 3,836 online news articles, 1,483 forum posts and 570,414 tweets.

I then continued to track the numbers of Steve Jobs talk through the night at different intervals. Half an hour after my last check, at 10pm(EST) numbers had risen to 2,298 blog posts, 4,752 online news articles, 2,156 forum posts and 636,924 tweets.

And through the night, numbers looked like the following:





I took my final screen grab at 9:30am(EST) this morning. By this time, everyone that was sleeping when the news first broke would have been awake and heard about Jobs. At this time there was 13,611 blog posts, 33,484 online news articles, 27,832 forum posts and 2.5 million tweets about Steve Jobs in about a 24 hour time span. This is very reminiscent to how talk of Bin Laden’s death spread through social media.

At this time as well, our buzzgraph which shows words being used in conjunction with our search terms had also significantly changed. While the buzzgraph I saw at 8:30pm was still focused on words that reflected Tuesday’s iPhone announcement, this morning it was now filled with words of people talking about their sadness of Jobs death an stories and accomplishments of his life.

I also took a snapshot of where all the tweets were coming from. By just taking a quick look at this map it’s easy to see that Steve Jobs had an effect on people around the globe and these people had taken to social media to talk about it.

Steve Jobs was a visionary that changed the world of technology forever. Without his iPod, I don’t think that the MP3 would have caught on as quickly as it did. Even people who could be considered to be Jobs’ main competitors knew how much he had changed the world and they weren’t hesitant to pay their respects to the man. Google put a very minimalistic tribute to him right on their main search page. Blackberry (RIM) sent out a tweet with their condolences and even Bill Gates, who some may have considered Jobs’ number one competitor in life, wrote a short piece on his personal blog to pay his respect.



It’s no question that today is a sad day in the world of tech. Steve jobs was a visionary and a leader in the industry. He will be very missed by many people, myself included, but if the numbers that showed talk about him in only about 12 hours are any indication, he will not be forgotten.