Twitter remembers the top stories of 2011

The social network points to the Osama bin Laden raid and the "pro-democracy movement in Egypt" as some of the top stories that impacted Twitter this year.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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A look at some of Twitter's biggest stories from 2011.
A look at some of Twitter's biggest stories from 2011. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

As 2011 comes to a close, Twitter has decided to take a look back at some of the big stories that impacted tweeters around the globe in a new series, called Year In Stories.

One of the stories Twitter highlights is Shohaib Athar's sudden rise to fame. While he was sleeping in bed earlier this year, he heard a helicopter overhead, saw what was going on, and took to Twitter to tell followers what was happening. What Athar didn't know at the time was that he was live-tweeting the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, and he was the first person in the world to report on the events of that day.

Twitter also played an integral role in what became the Arab Spring. Not only did the social network prove to be a place for concerned people to get the word out and show support, but in January, Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian man and Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, did much more than that when he tweeted, "I said one year ago that the Internet will change the political scene in Egypt and some friends made fun of me." A day later, he was detained for organizing protests against the government. Although he was eventually released, his arrest played a key role in the Mubarak government's downfall.

But Twitter didn't stop there. Here are some of the other stories Twitter says its service helped write this year:

  • Users took to Twitter to find volunteers to clean up streets after the U.K. riots.
  • People around the globe used Twitter to communicate with friends and loved ones in Japan following the devastating March 11 earthquake.
  • Daniel Morales used a prepaid mobile phone and created a Twitter account to find his estranged daughter. After 11 years apart, he was reunited with her just a few days later, thanks to Twitter followers connecting with others to find her.
  • Chad Ochocino sent out a tweet to followers, offering to bring 100 of them out for a seafood dinner. He made good on his promise.

Twitter's Year In Stories is the first of what will be several lists coming from the company this month, including its top tweets, trends, and hashtags.