Friday, 4 January 2013

2012: The Year On Twitter

2012 was a big year for Twitter. The microblogging and social messaging site cemented its position as the second most popular social media site by reaching 200 million monthly active users in mid-December.

2012 was also the year of many Twitter firsts: new Tweeters, records broken and improvements to an already popular service.

Here is a list of some of Twitter’s highlights from 2012:

The Top Tweet

Barack Obama @BarackObama - “Four more years”

After being elected for a second term as US President, Barack Obama tweeted an emotional photo of a shared embrace with wife Michelle, accompanied by the message “Four more years”.

The Tweet, which was posted on 6th November, was retweeted over 800,000 times and favourited over 300,000 times, becoming the most popular Tweet of 2012 in a matter of hours.

Hot Topics

London 2012 Summer Olympics

Over the two week long event, 150 million Tweets were sent regarding the Olympics. The closing ceremony saw the largest spike, with over 116,000 Tweets being sent a minute.

A celebratory Tweet by Team GB (@TeamGB) was one of the most popular Tweets of the year, amassing over 67,000 retweets and 5,000 favourites.

The US Election

More than 31 million relevant Tweets were sent on the day of the election. As the votes were counted that evening, the conversation on Twitter reached an impressive 327,452 Tweets per minute.

New Faces

The Pope @Pontifex

Pope Benedict XVI has amassed almost 2.4 million followers across his 8 multilingual accounts since joining Twitter last month.

The English version of his first tweet, which thanked Twitter users for their “generous response”, was retweeted over 64,000 times.

David Cameron @David_Cameron

English Prime Minister David Cameron joined Twitter in early October after previously making derogatory statements about those who post ‘too many tweets’, statements for which he has since apologised.

David Cameron’s first tweet was not greeted with much enthusiasm by the public, but in the few months he has been active Cameron has managed to amass over 200,000 followers.

Pelé @Pele

Brazilian football legend Edison Arantes do Nascimento, known to the world as Pelé, set up a Twitter account on 9th April. The man, who some say is the greatest footballer ever, has over 388,000 followers, and posts regularly in both English and his native Portuguese.

Twitter Firsts

The Deepest Tweet

Blockbuster Hollywood director James Cameron (@JimCameron) sent the deepest ever tweet from his DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible, 35,775 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean’s surface in the Mariana Trench.

“Just arrived at the ocean's deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can't wait to share what I'm seeing w/ you @DeepChallenge”, tweeted Cameron.

The Twitter Literature Festival

In late November and early December, Twitter held the first ever Twitter Fiction Festival, challenging writers to compose a narrative using the 140-character limit.

29 different projects were chosen to be featured throughout the festival, with ideas as diverse as a romance between a girl and a sasquatch and a challenge to users to write Twitter epitaphs.

Anyone could get involved in the festival by using the hashtag #twitterfiction.



During the Syrian uprising, Twitter revived the Speak2Tweet initiative.

The service provided Syrians whose internet and electricity had been cut with a hotline which, when called, posted Tweets on their behalf.

Hurricane Sandy

During Hurricane Sandy, Twitter offered free promoted Tweets to a number of charities and relief organisations on the East Coast of America.

People were able to use Twitter to follow the progress of the storm and access vital information about staying safe.

The service proved invaluable, especially as Twitter had resurrected their SMS service to provide coverage in areas where the internet was down.

Baby Hashtag

On Saturday 24th November, baby Hashtag Jameson was born. Following in the footsteps of baby Facebook and baby Like, baby Hashtag’s parents decided on a name for their daughter that they could be certain no other child would have.

New Features

Twitter Photo Filters

In early December, Twitter and photo sharing service Instagram had a very public falling out. Instagram stopped supporting Twitter Cards, which meant that photos posted from Instagram onto Twitter stopped showing up properly.

Twitter acted quickly, bringing out their own Aviary-supported photo filter service. Although not as comprehensive as its Instagram counterpart, Twitter photo filters impressed users with its ease of use and intuitiveness.

Header Images

Twitter introduced Header Images in September, giving creative Tweeters a chance to express themselves.
Ryan Seacrest’s profile page was perhaps the most lauded: showing him embracing the American Idol judges.

Tailored Suggestions

The “Who To Follow” sidebar uses data gathered from users’ browsing history and integrated websites to suggest who they should follow next.

Despite early concerns that the feature would be too invasive, it proved to be a vast improvement on the previous system, which just suggested people similar to the user.

Downloadable Tweets

Dick Costolo promised, and delivered, downloadable tweets in December, after many users had asked for the service.

Costolo promised the service would be up and running in time for Christmas, despite evoking the ire of his engineers, who felt that they would need more time to develop the system.
The engineers managed to develop the feature, despite the time constraint, allowing Costolo to keep his word.

Negative Keyword Targeting and Trend Matching

Twitter updated their promoted Tweets service for businesses last month, allowing companies to disassociate themselves from potentially damaging words or phrases.

With the update, the search engine matches companies to specific trends relevant to their service or produce.

What was the highlight of your year on Twitter?


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