The Oscars - and a selfie - rock Twitter

Hollywood gala spotlight shines on Twitter, leaving Facebook and other social networks behind

While actors, directors and other Hollywood types got their coveted Oscar awards last night, Twitter was getting recognition of its own.

Comedian and Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres rocked Twitter last night when she took a selfie with a bevy of Hollywood's biggest stars, such as Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence -- and said she wanted it to become the most retweeted photo ever.

It was.

As of noon on Monday, the twitpic was retweeted nearly 3 million times, and was favorited on Twitter more than 1.4 million times.

This selfie from the Oscars show Sunday night quickly became the most retweeted twitpic on Twitter and gave a big boost to the social network.

The twitpic was posted some 14 hours earlier with DeGeneres' tweet: "If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars."

The Oscars selfie eclipsed the the previous twitpic retweet record -- a photo of President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle hugging, with the message "Four more years." The photo was tweeted on Nov. 6, 2012 and garnered more than 780,000 retweets.

Last night's selfie not only broke a record, it also crashed Twitter for a bit.

Twitter apologized for the problems, explaining in a tweet that service was disrupted for about 20 minutes Sunday night, according to an Associated Press report.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted out its own apology for taking down Twitter, tweeting "Sorry, our bad," alongside a screen grab of broken Twitter page.

The Oscars overall accounted for some 14.7 million tweets from users around the world. That total compares to 1.7 million tweets posted about Obama's State of the Union Address in late January and 15.2 million tweets during the Grammy Awards show in January.

While Facebook users posted comments on Facebook about the Oscar awards, the speeches and what people were wearing, it was Twitter's big night, as it often is during major events.

Twitter has a lock on immediacy, which rival social networks are looking to challenge.

"This was huge for Twitter," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moore Insights & Strategy. "It demonstrated that when it comes to instant and short broadcast of information, Twitter rules. Essentially, some of the biggest movie stars endorsed Twitter, the service."

Moorhead theorized that Facebook executives were likely pretty envious of Twitter last night as millions of people retweeted one selfie.

"What Facebook needs to understand is that you can't be all things to all people," said Moorhead. "If this were boating, Twitter would be a speedboat and Facebook would be the freighter. Both are water-worthy, but they operate at different speeds, carry different numbers of people and cargo, and are different to board. Twitter, though, once again reinforces that they have the lock on immediacy."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.

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