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.
Out of more than 700,000 posts, tweets, comments and updates monitored yesterday and today, 9.3 percent of them (64,900) discussed Cook. 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 today is somewhat surprising. It may be proof that our fascination with Jobs' goes well beyond coup of pulling Apple back from the brink in the 90s and making it one of the most valuable companies on earth.
Our social conversation research was conducted by Conspiracy Media Group, a San Francisco-based company that makes a business of monitoring and analysing public opinion in the world of social media. Conspiracy president Ed Dilworth commented that the social conversation around Jobs' was surprisingly diverse, such that the most popular topic still accounted for less than 10 percent of 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 assassination, Dilworth says.
Speculation about Jobs' health scored surprisingly low, constituting only 3.6% of the social comments in the first 24 hours after the resignation announcement.
And finally, more than 22,000 people couldn't resist the urge to throw an "i" joke into the conversation. For example, @Mentalist wondered yesterday if the subject line of Jobs' resignation email read "iQuit."