Nearly a million tweets have been sent on the hashtag #royalbaby, to the annoyance of many. (Topsy)

Before the royal baby had so much as drawn his first breath, he was already more popular than Jay Z, the Grammys and the summer Olympics — at least on Twitter, where the royal infant hijacked the Internet hype cycle from the moment his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, went into labor around dawn London time.

According to Topsy, a Twitter analytics site, nearly 300,000 messages were sent with the hashtag #royalbaby in the hour the Palace announced the boy’s birth. That puts #RoyalBaby on track to break the one-million tweet mark today — a milestone typically reserved for events like, you know, major elections. (The 2012 U.S. presidential elections, for instance, earned 1.2 million tweets on the #election2012 tag the day of November 6.)

It also means more people tweeted about the baby than tweeted with the #London2012 hashtag on the opening day of the Olympics (892,000 tweets), or the #Grammys tag during the 2013 awards (895,000 tweets). The yet-unnamed heir has also bested some other pint-sized celebrities, including Kimye progeny North West.

To be clear, this method of quantifying Twitter interest isn’t exact: Some people could have tweeted about the Grammys without using that hashtag, for instance.

But it goes pretty far in demonstrating the scale of the #royalbaby as an Internet phenomenon, particularly in certain corners of the world. Interest is predictably highest in the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and Canada, according to Google Trends data, which measures the volume of Google searches. In fact, the volume of social shares and searches is so high that it inspired the National Cable and Telecommunications Association to investigate whether royal baby-related Internet traffic could “break” the Internet. (Spoiler alert: It can’t.)

Not everyone has been pleased with the #royalbaby buzz, of course — as with most ubiquitous Twitter trends, this one comes with a virile virtual backlash. The Post’s TJ Ortenzi even wrote a helpful guide to filtering baby news from your social feeds.


Filtering might be a lost cause, though. While the volume of social shares on the baby’s birth are already dying down, there are plenty of other little milestones to tweet about — like the eventual release of the baby’s name and pictures, which should come within the week.

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (