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Top Tweets of 2012

Twitter releases end-of-the-year highlights.

By Rich_Maloof Dec 11, 2012 6:23PM

You can have your Best Dressed/Worst Dressed, your Top Films, your Handsomest/Prettiest/Funniest. All of those year-end wrap-ups may sell a lot of magazines, but the lists are formulated behind office doors by a handful of self-appointed experts Thanks to online analytics, social media stats offer a quantifiable take on what the rest of us are talking about.

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We’ve already shared the most frequently searched terms of 2012. Today, Twitter released its own year-end highlights based on its active user base of some 140 million active users. Here’s a selection of top tweets.

Most Retweets

“Four more years.”  The most retweeted message of the year came from President Obama when his election victory was confirmed. The three-worder — plus an image of Obama, eyes closed, hugging the First Lady  — was retweeted over 810,000 times by people in more than 200 countries, and marked as a favorite by over 300,000 users.

“RIP Avalanna. i love you”  A sweet picture of Justin Bieber smiling and holding a young fan tells a sad story. In a September 26th tweet, Bieber said goodbye to six-year-old Avalanna Routh, who had suffered from a rare form of brain cancer. It was retweeted more than 220,000 times.

“F*** it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”  The infamous call made by a replacement ref in a September game between the Seahawks and the Packers inspired over a million tweets from fans who were angry about the  referees’ labor standoff with the NFL. Green Bay’s TJ Lang shared some choice words for the league (the asterisks are ours) and generated the third most retweets of the year.

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Biggest Conversations

The Summer Olympics   During the Summer Games in London, the athletic event to generate the biggest spike in tweets — at 80,000 per minute — was the 200-meter sprint, which was won by the most-discussed athlete, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. But Bolt lost the twitter race to the Spice Girls, who generated 116,000 tweets per minute during the closing ceremonies. Overall, the Games generated 150 million tweets.

U.S. Election   More than 31 million tweets were sent about the election on Election Day, peaking at 327,452 tweets per minute as news outlets called state results that night.

MTV Video Music Awards   Twitter says over 52 million votes were cast via tweets for the “Most Sharable Video” during this year’s MTV awards show. Yes, that means 21 million more people tweeted about One Direction and their fellow nominees than about the nominees for President of the United States.

Superstorm Sandy   Users shared both the the awe and agony of the storm in over 20 million Sandy-related tweets, and social media played a role in emergency communications.  From space, astronauts tweeted live images to the wind-torn planet below.

Goodbye, Whitney Houston — The news released on February 11th generated more than 10 million tweets, with many of Houston’s fan’s learning through social media that she had died.

Other top conversations: Super Bowl, Euro 2012, EUFA Champions League Semi-Final, “Summer Wars” obsession

Only on Twitter

Take me to your tweeter    Live pictures of Curiosity were tweeted from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the Mars rover descended onto the Martian surface.

Everest ascent   Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki tweeted his was way toward the planet’s highest peak — but wasn’t able to summit due to high winds.

King of the underworld   From the highest highs to the lowest lows. James Cameron tweeted from the bottom of the Mariana Trench, becoming the first person to tweet from 35,755 feet under the sea.

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Bing: Top 12 headlines of 2012.

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