When big events happen in the world, they happen on Twitter. So when news of Sir Alex Ferguson’s resignation was broken with a single Tweet from Manchester United (@ManUtd) at 9.18am this morning, it started a global conversation on the platform.
In the hour following the announcement, there were more than 1.4 million mentions of the story on Twitter, and the original announcement Tweet had more than 18,000 retweets and favourites.
Within that same hour, Man Utd had tweeted eight times with a total of 25,000 retweets.
The official club hashtag for the announcement, #ThankYouSirAlex, was used in all of Man Utd’s tweets and on the official press release. The hashtag had more than 100,000 mentions on Twitter in the hour after the announcement was made.
The story dominated Twitter’s trends, taking eight of the 10 UK trending topic spots, and four of the 10 worldwide trends. #ThankYouSirAlex was Twitter’s number one global trend within eight minutes of the club’s first tweet.
Breaking news on Twitter is an established way to grow your account, and a hashtag is a way to group together a global conversation. That hashtag gave United’s fans a way to come together and discuss the news.
Sport, and football in particular, is one of Twitter’s most-talked about subjects. Seven out of 10 of the most talked-about moments of 2012 on Twitter were sport-related, and today’s story was no different.
As well as sharing the news with fellow enthusiasts, football fans use Twitter to see what their heroes and other high profile people have to say about a subject.
In the hour after Man Utd confirmed the news about Sir Alex, high-profile football stars started to react to the story. Vincent Kompany (@vincentkompany), captain of United’s fierce rivals Manchester City (@MCFC), had this to say:
Sir Alex, one of the best managers of all time. After 26 years of success in the game, we all owe him a tribute.
— Vincent Kompany ( @VincentKompany) May 8, 2013
Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievement at #MUFC has been exceptional. Hopefully his retirement will make life a little easier for my team #AVFC
— David Cameron ( @David_Cameron) May 8, 2013
But it is important to use @names correctly on Twitter - mentions of Black Eyed Peas singer @Fergie, who shares a nickname with Sir Alex, went through the roof in connection to the story, with TV and radio presenter @ColinMurray joining in with this joke:
Devastated about the Fergie news. I mean, I just don’t think the Black Eyed Peas can carry on without her. #sadday
— Colin Murray ( @ColinMurray) May 8, 2013
Attention now turns to who the new manager of Manchester United will be. And football fans know that when Man Utd are ready to make that announcement, Twitter will be the place to join the global conversation.