Not surprisingly, news of Osama Bin Laden’s death resulted in a major spike in Internet traffic as users flocked to news sites for the latest information.
Akamai’s Net Usage Index, which measures traffic to top news sites for which Akamai delivers content, registered 4.1 million page views around 11:30 p.m. ET Sunday, around the time that President Obama began his remarks.
Akamai tells us that represents a 28% increase in North America and 24% increase in global web traffic compared to the averages for that time.
Of course, since Akamai’s only measuring news sites in this index, it might be under representing how big of a surge there was on the broader web. Social media sites saw huge surges in activity as news broke, with Twitter reporting 4,000 tweets per second around the time of Obama’s speech, roughly the same amount as sent during the peak of this year’s Super Bowl.
Our own polling indicates that more than 50% of (our admittedly partial) readers first heard of the news via a social media site.
Here’s the spike represented visually: