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#SOPA sets Twitter aflame during blackout day

Social media has been buzzing about the Stop Online Piracy Act for days, but today, talk about the bill exploded on Twitter and elsewhere. Mentions were up by more than 3,300 percent.

Twitter was packed with mentions of SOPA and PIPA today, and many of the terms being used were seen far more often than yesterday.

If you're active on Twitter, it's almost impossible to imagine that you got through today without being bombarded by mentions of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the Protect IP Act (PIPA), two controversial antipiracy bills under consideration in Congress.

But with today being the day that Web sites like Wikipedia, BoingBoing, Reddit, and many others went dark--not to mention Google and others that featured less drastic forms of anti-legislation protest--it was striking to see just how much issue dominated the conversation on Twitter.

On Tuesday, for example, there were approximately 106,500 mentions of the term "SOPA" on Twitter. But by 2 p.m. PT today, that number had exploded to more than 3.5 million. Similarly, there were about 86,500 mentions of "PIPA" on Tuesday, and more than 655,500 today. All numbers come from Twitter via HootSuite.

And there were plenty of other SOPA- and PIPA-related terms that dominated Twitter today. Others included "end piracy," "blackout," "#iftheyshutdowntwitter," and "#iftheyshutdownwikipedia." In each case, the number of mentions either went up significantly since yesterday, or were used for the first time today and generated large numbers of mentions as the day went on.

There are plenty of other terms related to the bills making their way across Twitter as well. One is clearly being propagated by people unclear on what SOPA even is. The telling term is "WTF is SOPA?" (See CNET's FAQ on SOPA or this roundup of our SOPA coverage.)

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Now playing: Watch this: Ep. 106: SOPA blacks out the Web