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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Most Popular Tweets On Twitter in 2012



10. Twitter Breaks the News

It was the tweet that broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death, at least 20 minutes before the Associated Press reported it. As written by @AjaDiorNavy: “omgg , my aunt tiffany who work for whitney houston just found whitney houston dead in the tub . such ashame & sad :-( .” A relative of a Beverly Hills Hotel worker who reportedly found Houston dead in her hotel room, @AjaDiorNavy proved on Feb. 11 that Twitter users can beat the mainstream media to the punch.

9. Olympics Backlash

What does it take to get kicked off Twitter? British journalist Guy Adams found out the hard way after he criticized NBC for its much-derided tape delay during the London Olympic Games. Joining a vocal, viral chorus that offered real-time, daily critiques of NBC’s coverage of the world’s biggest sporting event, Adams became the unwitting star of the spectacle, tweeting a series of diatribes against the network, which included jabs at Matt Lauer and the “disgusting money-grabbing by @NBCOlympics.” He went one step too far, however, when he tweeted the e-mail address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel and was promptly booted from the social network. After a lengthy standoff, during which several observers noted that Twitter was an official partner of NBC, Adams’ account was reinstated. Which raises the age-old adage: Think before you tweet.

8. Beliebers Have Feelings, Too


Justin Bieber’s tweets are pretty banal for someone with 31 million people hanging onto his every word: A YouTube link here, a retweet of a fan there, all spaced out between such bland philosophical asides as ‘cereal is really good.’ But the Biebs broke form on Sept. 26, when he tweeted a simple, sweet sentence: ‘RIP Avalanna. i love you.’ His tweet referred to Avalanna Routh, a 6-year-old super fan who passed away after battling a rare form of cancer for most of her short life. Routh came to Bieber’s attention following a Facebook campaign that amassed more than 12,000 supporters. The pop star then spent Valentine’s Day playing board games with the self-proclaimed ‘Mrs. Bieber’ and her mom. The experience clearly touched Bieber, who tweeted about their date and, eventually, her passing. Beiber’s tweet went viral, fathering 223,000 retweets and more than 100,000 favorites, proving that his Beliebers care about more than just believing in him.

7. Twit Lit

This provocative tweet was the first in a series that comprised Jennifer Egan’s story “Black Box,” which was shared exclusively on Twitter: the New Yorker tweeted the 8,500-word story from its @NYerFiction account over 10 nights. On the New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, the author said she composed the story in an effort to “write fiction whose structure would lend itself to serialization on Twitter.” Egan is no stranger to unconventional methods of storytelling, having organized an entire chapter of her Pulitzer Prize–winning A Visit from the Goon Squad around a PowerPoint slide. She may not tweet much herself (her last message dates back to May 24 in promotion of “Black Box”), but Egan’s twit-lit experiment was proof that art can indeed be found in 140 characters.
6. We Live-Tweet Everything — and We Mean Everything
The best tweets are risky, thoughtful and unique. On Feb. 21, Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston achieved the trifecta when it decided to live-tweet an open-heart surgery from beginning to end on its @houstonhospital handle. The self-proclaimed “live surgical twittercast” featured text, graphic surgical images and answers to follower questions. The hospital followed up the educational event by live-tweeting the removal of a brain tumor in May. Was the event a publicity stunt? Yes. Was it educational and wholly unique? Definitely.

5. Obama’s Tweet Slam

Twitter responded in hilarious fashion to Clint Eastwood’s mind-boggling speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he gave a stern lecture to an empty chair that was meant to represent President Obama. Confusion, amazement and bewilderment quickly flooded Twitter that evening, and it was only a few minutes into Eastwood’s speech when the parody accounts sprang up — including @InvisibleObama. The President made the choice to take the criticism sitting down, literally: just after Eastwood’s speech, Obama’s digital staff sent out a tweet with a photo of Obama sitting. The text was brief: “This seat’s taken.” Well played, Mr. President.

4. Tweet if You Love Big Gulps

In case you’re wondering, no, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not want to supersize his meal. In June, it seemed as if everyone had something to say about his proposed ban of large sugary drinks. McDonald’s was quick to take defense, using Twitter to issue a statement to its then 795,000 followers: “We trust our customers to make the choices that are best for them.” Sorry, Bloomberg: looks like there is no McLovin’ for you.

3. Tweets from Mars

There was a sigh of relief heard round the world when NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed safely on Mars. And if watching it on YouTube wasn’t an option, science nerds everywhere could follow the descent onto the Red Planet via Twitter.

2. When Athletes Snap at 140 Characters

It was a historic locker-room tweet. On Sept. 25, Green Bay Packers player T.J. Lang used Twitter to take out his frustration on the NFL’s replacement referees after a blown call caused his team to lose a game to the Seattle Seahawks. His profane rant didn’t just go viral, garnering more than 55,000 retweets in less than 45 minutes; it was also influential, inspiring a chorus of dissatisfied players and fans to use social media for their complaints. Less than two days later, a deal was in place to reinstate the regular referees.
1. Election Night, and the Most Popular Tweet of All Time
What can you say about the most popular tweet of all time? When President Obama was re-elected shortly before midnight on Nov. 6, Twitter exploded. But only one tweet was the favorite and retweeted more than 800,000 times. After Obama’s victory was projected by the major news networks, his campaign tweeted three times in a row. The first two messages (including one signed “-bo,” which means POTUS tweeted it himself) were retweeted between 180,000 and 250,000 times. Not too shabby, even by Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber standards. But the third tweet, which simply stated “Four more years” and featured an image of Obama hugging the First Lady, made history 22 minutes later. In the days following Obama’s re-election, articles about the tweet were everywhere, which only increased the retweet tally. So the all-time Twitter record remains, for now

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