“Twitter is what we wanted it to be.”
This is a quote from Twitter founder Ev Williams in Fortune a month ago. The context was the comparison between Twitter and Instagram, but when events take place, Twitter continues to demonstrate its power as a destination for real-time news.
Case in point: After the attacks on the French publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week, millions took to the streets in solidarity, with the rallying cry of “Je Suis Charlie” — we are Charlie. The marches in Paris were reported in the news, but the real-time reporting was happening on Twitter.
#JeSuisCharlie has been trending on Twitter since shortly after the attack, with more than 3 million Tweets using the hashtag within the first two days. In fact, #JeSuisCharlie is being reported as one of the most popular hashtags in Twitter history.
Global News reports:
[B]y 7:15 p.m. Paris time on the night of the shooting, there had been 2.1 million tweets sent using the hashtag. At one point in the evening the hashtag garnered 6,486 tweets per minute, according to Twitter France.
The numbers have since increased, with #JeSuisChalie being used more than 5 million times. While #JeSuisCharlie is definitely a popular hashtag at current, according to Mashable, its use is on par with that following the Ferguson grand jury decision, and can’t even come close to beating out the World Cup or the 2014 MTV Video Music awards.