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Olympics, hurricanes, elections: Twitter unveils its year in review

This year’s been big for Twitter. As the social network continues to grow it’s increasingly becoming the place where go to share, debate and understand issues in the world around us.

In celebration of the year that was, the social network has launched a portal putting 2012 into perspective. The site allows you to explore. the biggest tweets of the year, the most high-profile people to join, the year’s biggest trends as well as your own year on Twitter among other things.

According to Twitter editorial director Karen Wickre, 2012 showed Twitter’s power to make events that would have once been distant much more intimate:

In 2012, everyone on Twitter brought us closer to moments and places that used to be far away or inaccessible: A Tweet from the bottom of the ocean. Tweets from Mars. An extraordinary view from space of Superstorm Sandy. A quiet backstage moment with a presidential candidate. All of these and millions of other such moments were ours to experience directly wherever we were, in the midst of work or play or travel.

Golden Tweets:

Brack Obama’s victory tweet following the US election is the top tweet of the year, and is the most retweeted ever.

In second place is Justin Bieber with a tweet in memory of a six-year-old fan who died of brain cancer. Honorable mentions got to the likes of American footballer, Great Britain’s Olympic team and Japanese actor Kouichi Yamadera.

Biggest conversations

The year’s biggest conversations don’t contain many surprises. Unsurprisingly the London Games dominated conversation during the year. The closing ceremony generated 116 000+ Tweets per minute while Usain Bolt’s defence of his Beijing 200 metre crown generated 80 000 Tweets per minute.

Other big topics this year included the US election (with 31-million+ Tweets sent about the election on Election Day.), Hurricane Sandy (20-million tweets between 27 October and 1 November), the MTV Music Awards and the Euro 2012 football tournament.

Twitter firsts

In the “Only on Twitter” section of the portal, you can find a number of Twitter firsts, including the first tweet from the surface of Mars, courtesy of the Curiosity Rover.

You”ll also find Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron’s tweet from the bottom of the ocean and the camera that took photos of swimmers at the 2012 Olympics while they were in the pool.

High profile new tweeters

From the Pope to Pelé to PSY and the Pope, Twitter welcomed new voices from every corner of the planet in 2012. In the “New Voices” section, you can find a collection of high-profile Twitter users who joined in 2012.


If you’re looking for the year’s top trends, this section won’t really help you. According to Twitter it lists “the significant Trends of the year in the US, UK and Japan. These phrases reveal what captured our attention based on sudden spike of interest, rather than what was consistently popular”. #nowplaying, and Starbucks for instance.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More

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