The news of Steve Jobs' resignation yesterday set off a wave of online conversation, and the largest single topic of that conversation concerns Tim Cook, the Apple COO Jobs recommends as his replacement.
Click on the thumbnail to the left to see our infographic on Steve Jobs social conversation trends.
Out of more than 700,000 posts, tweets, comments and updates monitored yesterday and today, 9.3 percent of them (64,900) discussed Cook. (Actually, 90 percent of the comments came in tweets.)
Cook was the subject of almost twice the social comments as the second-most popular topic, Jobs' resignation letter. It's not terribly surprising that Cook is top of mind today: he may be the answer to the question of whether or not Apple can thrive without Jobs' product vision and charisma.
The fact that Jobs' resignation letter is being discussed more than Apple's stock price in the wake of the news is somewhat surprising. It may be proof that our fascination with Jobs' goes well beyond his coup of pulling Apple back from the brink in the 90s and making it one of the most valuable companies on earth. He may be the last of the old-style visionary CEOs, in a world where power is usually spread horizonally across a management team and a board of directors. At Apple, Jobs was The Man.
Our social conversation research was conducted by Conspiracy Media Group, a San Francisco-based company that monitors and analyzes public opinion in social media. Conspiracy president Ed Dilworth commented that the social conversation around the Jobs resignation was surprisingly diverse, such that the most popular topic still accounted for less than 10 percent of all the comments monitored. Put another way, people responded in a lot of different ways to Jobs' resignation.
Another surprising aspect of the analysis is the rate at which people commented: 487 comments per minute is surprisingly high for a news event that isn't something catastrophic like a natural disaster or an assasination, Dilworth says.
Speculation about Jobs' health scored suprisingly low, constituting only 3.6% of the social comments in the first 24 hours after the announcement.
And finally, more than 22,000 people couldn't resist the urge to throw an "i" joke into the mix. For example, @Mentalist wondered yesterday if the subject line of Jobs' resignation email read "iQuit."