TOKYO - It didn't take long for Twitter users to set a new record for tweets per second in the New Year.
The social-network site ground to a halt just after midnight here, as Japanese users sent out a record 16,197 tweets per second to ring in the New Year - nearly triple the amount of tweets sent out last year minutes after the Japanese ushered in 2011.
Users around the globe were unable to post messages or re-tweet for more than an hour this year.
Twitter records are becoming old hat for the Japanese, who flooded the micro-blogging site with thoughts on everything from natural disasters to a classic anime film last year.
In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, users sent out 5,530 tweets per second, according to Twitter. The site proved to be a useful communication tool and, for some, the only tool after power and phone lines shut down. Survivors tweeted loved ones to let them know they were safe, while other users turned to the site for the latest news on the Fukushima nuclear plant, frustrated by the government's slow and confusing response.
Japanese users set another record this summer, when their soccer team pulled an upset over Team USA in the FIFA Women's World Cup final. The win generated 7,196 tweets per second, compared with 5,160 for the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
News of Beyonce's pregnancy at the MTV Music Awards (8,868 tweets per second) would've been the top tweet-getter of 2011, if it weren't for an influx of messages generated by a popular Japanese anime. When "Castle in the Sky" aired last month, viewers of the film flooded Twitter with the word "balse," a magic word uttered by the main characters in the movie.
Fans alerted each other to tweet during a key scene in the film, and generated more than 25,000 tweets per second.