2012's Year on Twitter - the essence of what mattered most to users

On Tuesday, Twitter released a recap of the most important moments shared by users in less than 140 characters throughout the year. Titled "2012 Year On Twitter", it provides an insight into what matters most to users of the social network: from top tweets filled with meaning, to trends and new significant members, such as the Pope.

"Four more years" is what United States President Barack Obama tweeted after he was recently reelected. The three famous words received almost 300,000 favorites and more than 816,000 retweets since November 7, claiming the top spot in the 2012 Golden Tweets. It should be noted, however, that the social network exaggerated slightly when it comes to the number of favorites, which is less than the 300,000+ it claimed. Sure, the president will get there shortly, but why rush it?

The second most retweeted message of the year is claimed by pop artist Justin Bieber's "RIP Avalanna. i love you" tweet with more than 220,000 retweets. It also gathered in excess of 100,000 favorites. He wrote the message after one of his younger fans passed from brain cancer.

But Twitter overcompensates, again, in the number of retweets from Kouichi Yamadera's message shared earlier this year in June. "2012 Year on Twitter" claims 68,000, when in fact the social network's count is off by a couple dozen. That said, his tweet became Japan's most retweeted message of the year so far.

In a time when people's eyes were on the Summer Olympics in London, the event collected 150 million tweets. The closing ceremony generated in excess of 116,000 messages per minute, and Usain Bolt's win in the 200m sprint caused the largest London Olympics-related conversation with 80,000 tweets per minute.

Hurricane Sandy is one of the most significant events in the latter part of 2012, and it made a major impact on Twitter as well.  Users shared more than 20 million related messages between October 27 and November 1, with New York power outages causing mobile device usage to double over the previous two days.

Other significant events include the U.S. election, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Super Bowl (yes, the Patriots still lost), Euro 2012  football championship (soccer for those on the left side of the pond), UEFA Champions League Semi-Final and the "Summer Wars" obsession, a Japanese anime movie.

In the "Only on Twitter" area, of moments that came to life on the social network, the Curiosity rover makes an appearance after NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory live-tweeted the descent onto Mars. Outer space also made an entrance after astronauts shared live images from the International Space Station.

When James Cameron hit the lowest known depth to mankind, the bottom of the Mariana Trench found in the Pacific Ocean, he automatically qualified as the first man to tweet at 35,755 ft or 10,916 m below sea level. He will likely hold that record for a while, unless someone else finds a deeper place to tweet from.

Other notable mentions include the Summer Olympics' pool camera, the final trip of the Endeavour space shuttle, the news of the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy, tweets on the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, live-tweeting from a Nascar car, football legend Pele answering fan questions and the friendly conversation between long-time boxing rivals Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

Twitter is known for its trending topics, and the social network's 2012 recap does not disappoint. Throughout the year (hash)tags like #nowplaying (for sharing favorite music), #tcot (top conversatives on Twitter), #nfl, family guy, rick ross, think like a man, at&t, ihop and #syria were the most popular trends on the social network.

Recently the Pope joined Twitter, using a personal account, but who else made the "New voices" list of important new members?

The US 2012 elections were highly discussed on Twitter reaching more than 320,000 tweets per minute, and obviously generated quite the impact among users. It's no surprise then that French President Nicolas Sarkozy or United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron joined the Twitterer ranks this year.

Notable new members include TV personalities like Patrick Stewart, Ben Affleck, Ewan McGregor or Jeremy Clarkson, music artists such as Neil Young, Adele, Ringo Starr and PSY, among others like Pele, Princess Khaliya or Melinda Gates, each representative for sports, religion and "doing good".

But what may matter most to Twitter users is the "Your year on Twitter" category. It offers a representation of the way topics were used in tweets throughout 2012 displayed as circles of different sizes, based on the number of retweets. It also gives a rough feedback on what is popular among followers.

The "Golden Tweet" category makes yet again an appearance, but this time around for individual users, and there is also the "Golden Follower". The latter is represented by the user that mentioned you or me the most in 2012.

So how has your "Year on Twitter" been?

Photo: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / Shutterstock.com

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