Celebs, selfies and the pope: tweets and events that rocked Twitter in 2013

Twitter 2013

Twitter 2013

“If it’s happening in the world, it’s happening on Twitter.”

That pretty much sums up 2013 for me.

As 2013 nears its close it’s always fun to look back at some if the biggest trends that came and went throughout the year. Looking back at the year on Twitter shows that tweets in 2013 can be divided into news, entertainment, sports and “showcase” (a publishing partner-picked selection of the best tweets of the year) – an interesting trip down memory lane focusing on global events, breaking news, pop culture and local tales from around the world that were shared this year on Twitter.

What was hot in 2013

With so much happening over the course of the year it’s tricky to pin it down to just a few tweets, but some of the highlights this year were when the #RoyalBaby graced us with his presence, when @Andy_Murray won Wimbledon, Richard III’s remains were found in a car park in Leicester, Miley Cyrus’s raunchy dancing and the election of Pope Francis. It was also the year in which One Direction took Twitter by storm. Oh and #twerking and #selfie entrenched themselves in everyday life.

Sports seem to be a big hit on Twitter and according to yearly stats, three of the top ten traffic spikes were due to sporting moments, but the world’s most popular tweet, which peaked at 408,000 retweets, came from Glee star Lea Michele (@msleamichele) who thanked fans for their support following the death of her partner and co-star Cory Monteith.

Twitter continued to be the platform for fast-breaking news, from protests in Turkey to the first reports of chemical attacks in Syria, and more than 27-million tweets were sent as the world discussed the Boston bombings in April.

A world without borders

The beauty of Twitter is that it really takes globalization to a new level allowing people from all over the world to discover the latest breaking news and topics, and open up endless conversation opportunities. From twerking to the Boston bombings, people for all over the world came together in 2013 to share opinions, and perspectives from the intelligent to the just plain stupid!

It’s always interesting to check out what really got everyone’s attention – not to confuse this with actually making a difference, being successful, or representing sentiment, but a mere snapshot of what made people sit up and tweet!

The list below from the official Twitter blog highlights what trended most frequently in 2013:

Twitter trends

Old dogs can learn to tweet

2013 was a year where people around the globe hopped on the Twitter train. This included the likes of @ManUtd, Monty Python (@MontyPython), former footballer Paul Gascoigne (@gazzaofficial), Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz (@CameronDiaz) and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (@TheDukeOfYork).

Here’s a selection of notable new Twitter accounts that joined the network in 2013

  1. BBC Two (@BBCTwo), TV channel (UK)
  2. Drew Barrymore (@DrewBarrymore), actress (US)
  3. Warren Buffett (@WarrenBuffett), businessman (US)
  4. Gerard Butler (@GerardButler), actor (UK)
  5. Hillary Clinton, (@HillaryClinton), politician (US)
  6. Bill Clinton (@billclinton), former president (US)
  7. Tim Cook (@tim_cook), Apple CEO (US)
  8. Cameron Diaz (@CameronDiaz), actress (US)
  9. Roger Federer (@rogerfederer), tennis player (Switzerland)
  10. Luis Figo (@LuisFigo), footballer (Portugal)
  11. Paul Gascoigne (@gazzaofficial), former footballer (UK)
  12. Justine Greening (@JustineGreening), MP (UK)
  13. Katie Holmes (@KatieHolmes212), actress (US)
  14. Stephen King, (@StephenKing) author (US)
  15. Hugh Laurie (@hughlaurie), actor (UK)
  16. Manchester United FC (@ManUtd), football club (UK)
  17. Kate Mosse (@KateMosse) author (UK)
  18. George Osborne (@George_Osborne), Chancellor of the Exchequer (UK)
  19. Sarah Jessica Parker (@SJP), actress (US)
  20. Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman), author (UK)
  21. Monty Python (@MontyPython), comedians (UK)
  22. Emma Rigby (@DameRigby), actress (UK)
  23. Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova), tennis player (Russia)
  24. Zoe Wanamaker (@ZoeWanamaker) actress (UK)
  25. Dominic West (@DominicWest), actor (UK)
  26. Robin Williams (@robinwilliams), actor (US)
  27. Samantha Womack (@Sam_Womack), actress (UK)
  28. Ronnie Wood (@ronniewood), Rolling Stones (UK)
  29. Jaime Winstone (@JWinstone), actress (UK)
  30. Prince Andrew, Duke of York (@TheDukeOfYork), royal family (UK)

According to Twitter’s blog, the social network was also used to pay tribute to those who had passed away, including former Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney, author Iain Banks, ex-Sopranos star James Gandolfini and recently, Nelson Mandela.

Top tweets of 2013

So getting down to the crux of it all – what were the top tweets for 2013?

In a list described as golden tweets, it showed that celebrity news is still the most talked-about topic on Twitter. Sad but true. As mentioned previously, the most shared single post of the year came from actress Lea Michele, thanking users for their support after the death of her co-star and partner Cory Monteith.

That message alone was retweeted a whopping 408,266 times, according to Twitter. It was closely followed by a tweet from the official profile of the Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker, confirming his death on 1 December, in a post also shared just over 400 000 times.

The year’s most retweeted posts were not all somber. One Direction’s Niall Horan tweeted “Yesss! I’m 20!” and “behind-the-scenes perspectives and personal updates” from the band were always widely shared by fans across the globe.

Besides just posts from individuals, some of the most talked-about topics for 2013 included the welcoming of a new pope in March, which at its peak was the subject of more than 130 000 tweets a minute.

Cristina Kirchner, the president of Argentina, received more than 7 000 retweets after posting an image of the letter she received announcing the appointment of her compatriot Pope Francis.

According to the Year On Twitter profile (@YearOnTwitter), more than 27-million tweets were sent discussing the Boston Marathon bombings on 15 April. They included the news breaking from The Boston Globe, and images of the blast and its aftermath.

Second screening starting playing a much heavier role this year and users tweeting alongside major televised events and programmes received huge coverage.

Featuring a star performance from Beyonce and a dramatic power outage, the Super Bowl in the US generated more than 24-million tweets, while almost 5-million posts were written about the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Other highlights in terms of breaking news covered on Twitter 2013 included the London helicopter crash in January, the death of Margaret Thatcher in April and the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in May.

In July the Wimbledon final, #TheRoyalBaby and #MalalaDay were the most-discussed topics, and August saw almost 2-million people tweet about the final of US TV show Pretty Little Liars.

The salvaging of the Costa Concordia was big news on Twitter in September, alongside coverage of the Australian election, as the eventual winner Tony Abbott wrote: “Today we can deliver real change.”

The typhoon hitting the Philippines dominated headlines and news feeds in November, while in December the hottest topics have been the World Cup draw, the Ashes, and of course the death of Nelson Mandela.

To get a peak of all the top tweets for 2013 check out the official #YearOnTwitter.



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