Barack, Bieber and London 2012 – Twitter reveals the top tweets and trends of 2012

11 Dec 2012

US President Barack O'Bama's 'four more years!' tweet was retweeted more than 810,000 times and favourited by more than 300,000 people

Twitter today revealed the top trends and Twitter messages that rocked 2012 – including US President Barack Obama’s ‘four more years’ tweet.

In its 2012 Year on Twitter compilation, Twitter revealed that Obama’s “four more years” tweet just after he was re-elected president of the United States was retweeted more than 810,000 times and favourited by more than 300,000 people.

The next top tweet was Justin Bieber’s “RIP Avalanna. I love you”, which was the pop star’s tribute to brave six-year-old cancer fighter Avalanna Routh in September. Bieber’s tweet was retweeted more than 220,000 times and favourited by 100,000 people.


Singer Justin Bieber with Avalanna Routh

The third most popular tweet of the year was Team GB’s tweet “29 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze – We finished 3rd in medal table after most successful Olympics for 104 years #OurGreatestTeam RT your support.” That message was retweeted more than 76,000 times and favourited by 5,000 people.

Pulse of the planet

In summing up the most-discussed topics on Twitter in 2012, the #London2012 Summer Games in London generated 150m tweets, with the closing ceremony, including the Spice Girls’ performance, amassing 116,000 tweets per minute. The largest competition-related conversation occurred when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt became the most-discussed athlete upon winning gold in the 200m sprint (80,000 tweets per minute).

The summer games were followed by the US presidential elections. The US presidential debates produced 10m tweets; there were more than 31m tweets about the election on election day; and as news organisations tallied the results on the evening of the election, Twitter recorded a peak of 327,452 tweets per minute.

These events were followed by the MTV Video Music Awards, which generated 14.7m tweets. The biggest peak of the night went to the moment One Direction won Best Pop Video, with 98,307 tweets per minute.

This was followed in terms of tweets by the Super Bowl, which saw more than 13.7m related tweets during the game – 1m in the last five minutes. Tweets spiked when an incomplete pass by the Patriots sealed the Giants’ victory, at 201,466 tweets per minute. Madonna’s halftime show saw 108,077 tweets per minute.

The Euro 2012 games also ignited heated discussion on Twitter. During this final in which Spain beat Italy 4-0, Juan Mata’s goal sparked 267,200 tweets per minute. Other big Twitter moments: Mario Balotelli’s second goal for Italy against Germany, Cesc Fabregas’ goal for Spain against Italy, and Spain’s defeat of Portugal in the semi-finals.

Twitter also revealed the most unique moments recorded on its network during the year, including the Curiosity rover’s descent onto Mars, live images of Hurricane Sandy hitting the US East Coast captured from the International Space Station; live tweets from Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki as he climbed Mount Everest; and the “deepest tweet” from director James Cameron, who became the first person to send a tweet from 35,755 feet beneath the sea.

Top trends of 2012

The top conversation starters of 2012 in the English (UK) world were #nowplaying, #news, #quote, #music, #justsaying, #followfriday, #yolo, #insomnia, #fail and #excited.

The top TV shows were Game of Thrones, American Dad, #East Enders, Family Guy, Russell Howard, #JeremyKyle, #Hollyoaks, #Newsnight and #CBB.

In the movies category were The Hunger Games, James Bond, #Skyfall, Star Wars, The Dark Night Rises, Prometheus, Dark Shadows, The Artist and Harry Potter.

Top trending music artists included Rick Ross, Nicky Minaj and Taylor Swift, while top trending political words were David Cameron, Tory, Tories, Labour, Ed Milliband and Boris Johnson.

In the English (US) world, the top trending conversation starters were nowplaying, #oomf, #blessed, #quote, #Irt, #salute, #news, #followfriday, #throwbackthursday and #shoutout.

The top political trends were #tcot, #teaparty, #gop, #romney, #mittromney, #dnc2012, #charlotte, #gop2012, #rnc, and #obama2012.

The top English (US) sporting trends were #nfl, #nascar, #mlb, #Olympics, #sfgiants, Jeremy lin, super bowl, Dwight howard, kobe, and #yankees.

In addition to the trends and tweets, Twitter has also partnered with Vizify to allow users to generate an interactive infographic showcasing the story of their year on Twitter by clicking here.


The largest Olympics-related Twitter conversation of 2012: when Usain Bolt (@UsainBolt) won gold in the 200m sprint (80,000 Tweets per minute).

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years