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Twitter's year in review: elections, Olympics make a stir in 2012

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Social networking site Twitter has published its year in review and some of its revelations, such as the most retweeted tweets or most debated subjects, may not come as much of a surprise, but others definitely will. 

Twitter's two ‘Golden Tweets' of 2012 come courtesy of President Obama and Justin Bieber. Obama's "Four more years" tweet, sent on November 7 moments before he took the stage to affirm his election victory, was re-tweeted over 810,000 times, becoming the most retweeted message not only of the year but in Twitter's history, sent by people in more than 200 countries around the world.

In second place with over 220,000 retweets is Justin Bieber's message "RIP Avalanna. i love you" which the pop star sent on September 26 following the death of Avalanna Routh, a six-year-old fan who had been suffering from a rare form of brain cancer.

Big in Japan

One of the surprise entries in the top retweeted messages chart is: "...I would like to announce here: I, Koichi Yamadera, have married Ms. Rie Tanaka ... I am really happy to have met such a great partner and have our lives come together. We made up our minds to respect each other, help each other and build a home full of smiles..." A marriage proposal, originally written in Japanese, that was retweeted some 68,000 times.

But why was it so popular and why did it become the most retweeted message from Japan in 2012? Because Koichi Yamadera and Rie Tanaka are both well-known voice actors famous for their work on Anime films. To put that into context, the message was retweeted 1,000 times more than "29 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze - We finished 3rd in medal table after most successful Olympics for 104 years #OurGreatestTeam RT your support" from the offical 2012 Olympics Team GB account.


However, sports in general and the London Olympics in particular was one of the biggest talking points on Twitter in 2012. Over its 16 days, the Games generated 150 million tweets, with the biggest spike in tweets (116,000 per minute) coming during the Spice Girls' performance at the closing ceremony.

Chelsea FC's improbable win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semi-final was also one of the biggest sports-related Twitter moments of the year. When Fernando Torres scored an injury-time goal to knock the champions out, global traffic on the platform peaked at 184,535 tweets per minute.


As well as the Spice Girls, other music-inspired tweets came from the 52 million tweet votes for the MTV Video Music Awards show, an event that also generated over 14.7 million tweets on the night.
Whitney Houston's death in February generated more than 10 million tweets, and, despite his global success, South Korean sensation Psy failed to make the top 10 music trending topics of the year, as they were dominated by hip hop and r&b.

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