Rich, famous and big on twitter: The data impact of celebrity social media profiles

During times of high data traffic, user experience on social media sites can be negatively affected. Sporting tournaments, general election campaigns, and high-profile awards ceremonies have all been responsible for enormous spikes in data traffic.

One example was the famous Ellen DeGeneres selfie at last year’s Academy Awards. The photo DeGeneres tweeted, which gathered some of the highest profile names in the acting world – including Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Brad Pitt – amassed instant, worldwide attention.

The famous selfie has been retweeted over three million times. It was retweeted more than two million times by the time the ceremony closed. The volume of retweets may have contributed to a temporary crash of Twitter (Twitter had to send out an apology when service was disrupted for more than 20 minutes), which gives us an idea of the data impact that celebrity social media profiles can have.

It’s vital to be prepared and put in place a contingency plan to cope with spikes. Social networks, website owners and other online hosts would be prudent to add computing power prior to large-scale worldwide events, to cope with the increase in traffic from people using their service. This means ensuring that they’re supported by a data centre that offers scalability.

Leasing is one solution to support short-term data centre demands by enabling companies to access the computing power needed for a select time period. A bit like an overflow car park at a concert venue, this gives companies the ability to react quickly to spikes in market demands, and handle huge amounts of data.

Overall, it’s not surprising that social media companies are one of the drivers behind the growth in the leasing of wholesale data centre space. The data centre construction market shows no sign of slowing down. It is predicted to grow to more than $22 billion (£14 billion) in revenues by 2019, driven by increased demand for data storage, according to the latest report from Research and Markets.

The 87th Academy Awards will be another star-studded affair, with the whole world’s eyes focused on what the stars wear, win, and – following last year’s lead – what they get up to on Twitter.

So, looking to this weekend’s ceremony, who’s most likely to create another huge Twitter stir on the scale of last year’s selfie? Of the leading men nominated for Best Actor, Steve Carell has the biggest digital footprint, with three million plus followers.

It’s Julianne Moore who leads the ladies up for Best Actress with over 500K followers.

But we suspect that the challenge falls to presenter Neil Patrick Harris – with over 13 million followers – to rival Ellen’s tweet.

Omer Wilson is director of Digital Realty.