Ellen's Oscar selfie crushes Obama for Twitter record

Steven Loeb · March 2, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3562

Photo featuring A-list stars Streep, Lawrence, Pitt and Jolie has been retweeted over 2.3M times

(Updated to reflect comment from Twitter)

There were many things to love about this year's Oscars.

Ellen DeGeneres' pizza bit may have gone on a little too long, but I loved the loose atmosphere. There was also the noticable lack of "get the hell off the stage!" music, which resulted in fantastic, moving speeches from some of the nominees, especially Jared Leto and Lupito Nyong'o.

Plus, Pharrell Williams wore his awesome Grammy's hat and also danced with Meryl Streep! So maybe all of my favorites didn't win (Bruce Dern wuz robbed!) but all in all, it was a pretty great show.

What the telecast will most be remembered for, though, is the record-breaking celebrity-filled selfie that Ellen took toward the beginning of the show.

Stating that she wanted to break the record with the most retweets of a photo, DeGeneres first approached Streep, then got Julia Roberts and Channing Tatum involved. They were then joined by Nyong'o, Jared Leto, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradely Coooper, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

An hour later or so she got her wish, when the photo surpassed the previous record holder, none other than the President of the United States himself!

On November 7th, 2012, the night that Barack Obama was reelected he sent out a tweet of him hugging his wife that was retweeted over 600,000 times that night alone.

The photo eventually made its way all the to 781,509 retweets. (Interestingly, the number is going up againt tonight; are people trying to take back the record or something?)

Ellen's selfie photo not only beat that photo's record, it has tripled it. At the moment, the tweet has 2,325,07 retweets, and counting.

The reference to Cooper's arm length probably has to do with the fact that poor Jared Leto was almost completely cut out of the picture (and that is the extent of my sympathy for someone who just won a freakin Oscar!)

How popular was the photo? It might have actually crashed Twitter.

A little while later in the broadcast, Ellen came out and said she had "broken Twitter," and reports are saying that the site was down for at least a few minutes following the taking of the picture.

So did the photo actually cause Twitter to go down or was it something else? A spokesperson simmply pointed me toward this brief blog post, which says:

"Between 19:05 and 19:29 PST today, some users may have experienced issues viewing and sending Tweets on twitter.com and Twitter’s mobile apps.

Traffic was redirected away from the components that were experiencing problems, and the issue has now been resolved.

We apologize for any inconvenience."

Twitter had no other comment.

Either way, the Academy is taking credit for the outage:

Btw, my favorite thing about this: notice the guy on the right hand side? Recognize him? No? That's because he is the brother of Best Supporting Actress winner Nyong'o, who somehow was able to get himself front and center with all of these big-time celebrities.

I think its safe to assume that this was the best night of his life.

(Image source: https://twitter.com)

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Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

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Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


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