by Kristin Burnham

Twitter Unveils the Top Trends and Tweets of 2012

Dec 11, 20123 mins
Consumer ElectronicsSocial Networking AppsTwitter

Twitter announces the biggest trends and most retweeted posts of 2012, plus it explains how you can get an instant infographic that captures your year on Twitter.

President Barack Obama, pop singer Justin Bieber and Green Bay Packers football star T.J. Lang earned the top spots in Twitter’s most retweeted posts of 2012, according to the site’s newly releasedsummary of the year.

Twitter’s 2012 recap uses “both data and editorial signals” to showcase some of the year’s most memorable moments and people, according to Twitter Editorial Director Karen Wickre.

You can visit 2012 Year on Twitter to browse this year’s categories and themes, which include the following:

  • Golden tweets: The top tweets that generated the most retweets for the year, plus honorable mentions for a few others that caught attention around the world;
  • Pulse of the planet: Some of the biggest conversations of the year that generated large numbers of tweets and retweets;
  • Only on Twitter: “Moments of serendipity and just plain awesomeness,” according to Twitter. “These are examples of tweets that came to life organically and can be appreciated in an instant.”
  • Trends: Topics that saw noteworthy spikes in conversation; and
  • New voices: High-profile Twitter users who joined in 2012.

President Obama’s tweet “Four more years” tweet was the most retweeted status update of the year, with more than 810,000.


In the No. 2 spot was a tweet sent by Justin Bieber on September 26 remembering a six-year-old girl who passed away from a rare form of brain cancer. He tweeted, “RIP Avalanna. i love you,” which was retweeted more than 220,000 times.

The third most retweeted post of the year belongs to the Green Bay Packers’ T.J. Lang, who voiced his frustration over the replacement referees who made a bad call in their game against the Seattle Seahawks. He tweeted, “[Expletive] it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.” That tweet generated nearly 100,000 retweets.

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The biggest conversations of the year on Twitter included the Summer Olympics, which generated more than 150 million tweets; the U.S. election, which produced more than 31 million tweets just on Election Day; and the MTV Video Music Awards, which peaked at 86,275 Tweets per minute when pop group One Direction won Best Pop Video.

Twitter also highlighted the top moments found only on Twitter. NASA’s live-tweeting as the Curiosity rover made its descent to Mars topped the list, as did Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki live tweeting his way up Mount Everest.

Mobile topped 2012’s tech trends on Twitter: AT&T, iPhone, Instagram, Skype and Kindle placed in as the top five, followed by iPad, Pinterest, Draw Something, Amazon and Apple.

The most talked-about movies of 2012 included “Think Like a Man,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Avengers,” “Red Tails” and “21 Jump Street.” Food talk was also popular this year: Top mentions included IHOP, Starbucks, Waffle House, McDonalds and BBQ.


Twitter also welcomed an eclectic group of people this year, ranging from actors Betty White and Jessica Biel; musicians Neil Young, Adele and Gwen Stafani; and even the Pope joining Twitter, but not yet Tweeting.

If you’d like to see a visual representation of your year on Twitter, visit You’ll be asked to sign in with Twitter and allow the app access to your tweets.

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Depending on how often you tweeted this year, it could take several minutes for the app to analyze your posts. Once it’s completed, you’ll see an infographic representing your year on Twitter.

Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and enterprise collaboration for Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at