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Steve Jobs leading trend on Twitter

The passing of Steve Jobs is fast becoming a social obituary, with people going online to express feelings of grief and loss.

World leaders, industry heavyweights, colleagues, friends and fans are using the social network for what is fast becoming a very public display of mourning.

According to Trendistic, which analyses user traffic on Twitter, the term "Steve Jobs" hit a 15.6 per cent high overnight – a statistic that may not be breaking records yet but is still emblematic of a high-trending topic.

However, this figure is limited in its ability to quantify the total volume of traffic generated by news of Jobs' death.

Themes such "RIPSteveJobs" also led to high spikes on graphs depicting trending data on Twitter as did the term "Apple".

When data taken from Jobs-related terms that do not refer to the Apple CEO by name – such as Pixar and #iSad – are taken into consideration, the initial 15.6 per cent figure almost doubles, which in laymans terms means that one in three people of an estimated 100 million active users tweeted about Jobs in the hours after his death.

The sheer volume of traffic was at times too much for the site to process and at one point, its network URL went down for 30 minutes.

Analysts were yesterday predicating tweets relating to Jobs to override previous records, however, it is not yet known whether this will be the case.

Earlier this year news of Beyonce Knowles' pregnancy and Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William broke Twitter records for online user activity.

Breaking news stories such as the tsunami in Japan also lead to public outpourings of emotion on the popular site.

It is expected that official records will be published within the next few weeks, however, this time frame is dependent on the volume of user traffic.

Yet there is enough evidence to suggest that Jobs' death has had a significant impact on people across the globe and Twitter has been instrumental in helping those individuals to mourn.