#MarRef dominates Ireland’s year in Twitter

7 Dec 2015

During the 12 hours in which the polls were open on the same-sex marriage referendum this year, 400,000 Tweets were sent with #MarRef in them. But the mood spread from there, with #HomeToVote another key trend at the time. Elsewhere #TheDress, #PrayForParis, #irishwater and, surprisingly, #RealMadrid were all prominent.

Twitter has become a key home for online conversation globally, and Ireland is no different, with major talking points like domestic politics, global terror and even the Eurovision played out in a 140-character-limit stage.

But what were the highlights? Well, the Marriage Referendum is the best example of Ireland’s adoption of Twitter’s communications platform. As we said above, #MarRef was attached to 400,000 tweets in just 12 hours, while #HomeToVote garnered 72,000 across the whole lead-up to the landmark vote.

#YesEquality and #VoteYes were among the top 5 Irish news trends, with a more recent #repealthe8th popping up to round out the top five.

Globally speaking, grim events in Greece, France, Syria and Palestine captured our attention greatly, with #Greece, #PrayForParis, #CharlieHebdo, #Syria and #Gaza populating the top 5 trends.

Smileys all round

Twitter described 2014 as the year of the selfie, after Ellen DeGeneres managed to fit as many A-list celebrities into a photo as possible, forming an acute recipe for virality.

This year, though, it’s all about the emoji, with face with tears of joy (?) the most popular emoji used on Twitter.

Other popular emojis that complete the top 5 of those used this year include smiling face with heart-shaped eyes (?), loudly crying face (?), smiling face with smiling eyes (?) and red heart (❤️).

Of course, using emojis on their own is for amateurs, as Roger Federer proved when he composed an entire Tweet of emojis, describing his day.

The most popular retweet was Harry Styles sending everybody, personally, his love. In this case, think of Twitter as the perfect place for a spam.

Major joiners of Twitter include Caitlyn Jenner (who, with @Caitlyn_Jenner, reached one million followers faster than Barack Obama’s new account, @POTUS, currently holding the record for that achievement).

Outside of Ireland, on a more global footing, #TheDress was an incredible annoyance, it seems.

Top Irish Trends:

  1. #MarRef
  2. #VoteYes
  3. #YesEquality
  4. #repealthe8th
  5. #hometovote

Top News Trends:

  1. #Greece
  2. #PrayForParis
  3. #CharlieHebdo
  4. #Syria
  5. #Gaza

Top Political Trends:

  1. #irishwater
  2. #Right2Water
  3. #budget16
  4. #dail
  5. #NAMA

Top TV Trends:

  1. #vinb
  2. #latelate
  3. #Eurovision2015
  4. #XFactor
  5. #roseoftralee

Top Sports Trends:

  1. #LFC
  2. #RealMadrid
  3. #MUFC
  4. #GAA
  5. #RWC2015

Updated 7 December 2015 at 1.35pm: An earlier version of this article stated that Edward Snowden had taken Barack Obama’s crown as quickest to reach 1m followers. This honour was in fact taken by Caitlyn Jenner.

Vote Yes image via Sergey Olegovich/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic