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Supersonic skydiver breaks YouTube record, Internet cheers

ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 14: (NO SALES/NO ARCHIVE) Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and Technical Project Director Art Thompson (R) of the Unites Stat...
Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and Technical Project Director Art Thompson (R) of the Unites States celebrate after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on October 14, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico.Handout / Getty Images

Felix Baumgartner's 24-mile skydive from the stratosphere on Sunday was a boon for social networks as millions of users shared in the wonder of the moment from their computers, tablets and phones.

Here's a look at how the world, through the Internet, watched the jump.


As Baumgartner ascended in the balloon, so did the number of viewers watching YouTube's live stream of the event. Its popularity grew as the moment of the jump drew closer, as people kept sharing links with each other on Twitter and Facebook and websites embedded the stream.

Update: Eight million viewers watched  Baumgartner's leap on the video sharing network, making it the biggest event in live Web video ever, notes Peter Kafka at All Things D. "That number blows away YouTube’s previous peak of 500,000 concurrent streams, which it hit this summer during the Olympics, as well as last year during the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton," Kafka added.

In the United States, the opportunity to watch the jump on TV was limited to the Discovery Channel, though more than 40 television networks in 50 total countries carried the lived feed, organizers said. It was streamed by more than 130 digital outlets.

Related: Skydiver jumps into stratosphere 24 miles over New Mexico 


After Baumgartner landed, sponsor Red Bull posted a picture of the daredevil on his knees to Facebook. In less than 40 minutes, the picture was shared more than 29,000 times and generated nearly 216,000 likes and more than 10,000 comments. Immediately after the jump, Red Bull solicited questions for Baumgartner through Facebook and Twitter, promising to answer three at a post-jump news conference.


During the jump and the moments after Baumgartner safely landed, half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter had something to do with the jump — pushing past tweets about Justin Bieber and seven NFL football games being played at the same time. Celebrities of all kinds weighed in, including athletes, actors and high-profile corporate executives.

"It's pretty amazing that I can watch, live on my computer, a man riding a balloon to the edge of space so he can jump out of it. (hashtag)TheFuture," tweeted Wil Wheaton, who acted in the iconic science-fiction series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

"Felix Baumgartner is a boss," tweeted Jozy Altidore, a soccer player for the U.S. men's national team.

 Related: 8 craziest skydives of all time involved huge leaps of faith


Two threads related to the jump made the front page of Reddit. Users quickly upvoted a request for Baumgartner to participate in an "Ask Me Anything" on the site, where users pepper someone on the site with questions about anything they want. President Barack Obama held court as the subject of a similar thread in August.

Nearly 29,000 users weighed in on a separate thread about the jump itself, voting it up and down and robustly commenting.

Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at 

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