Charlie Sheen & Twitter: Dark Throughput or the Way of the World?

Photo courtesy wikimedia user Artur Andrzej

These days, you cannot turn on a news show, open a magazine, or spend too long on the internet before you run into another update of unhinged celebrity Charlie Sheen’s erratic and disturbing antics. Hot on the heels of Sheen’s 20/20 interview, where he claimed to having “tiger blood and Adonis DNA,” the recently-fired Two and a Half Men star opened a Twitter account. The result was a Guinness World Record in fastest account to reach 1 million followers on the social media site, and a mega-boom for both the celebrity and Twitter itself. In facilitating Sheen’s rampage, Twitter is really benefitting from a clever use of Dark Throughput.

Understanding the public’s desire for more of Sheen’s ramblings, Twitter accelerated it’s celebrity-verification process to ensure their users that every single tweet out of Sheen’s new handle, @charliesheen, is authentic. Introduced in 2009 to guard against celebrity impersonators, Twitter’s verification process is a slow one, requiring confirmation from multiple sources, including the celebrity in question. Yet, within mere hours of applying for verification, Sheen’s account had verified status and the followers approached in droves. Within 24 hours, Sheen had 1 million followers, and both #winning and #tigerblood were trending among users. Now, Sheen has amassed over 2.5 million viewers and is using Twitter as his main media outlet, keeping the public’s attention focused on his manic spiral into insanity.

Twitter’s quick uptake on Sheen’s behavior is Dark Throughput at its best. Sheen’s ramblings are the supplies that Twitter’s consumer, the users, demand. Internet users are the most fickle of customers, and Twitter knows that immediacy is not only desired, but expected. By speedily approving Sheen, Twitter has gained tremendously. The public now knows that in order to feed the beast that is celebrity gossip, they can hop on Twitter and read Sheen’s latest 140-character outburst as soon as it is released. Twitter has harnessed Dark Throughput to gain traffic and notoriety, becoming what will most likely be the biggest beneficiary of Sheen’s downfall.


–The internet consumer demands seamless Throughput to stay engaged with products. Slow down, and you’ll see disinterest.

— Dark Throughput can only get you so far, and the fuel can stop on a dime. Stay smart, and don’t get caught up in the next gimmick.

— Keep on top of your supply, or you may crash and burn when your cash cow runs out of milk.