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Twitter recaps ... the year in tweets

Justin Bieber and President Obama were retweet machines. Plus, some of the top conversations of the year ignited over the U.S. elections, the Olympics, and Superstorm Sandy.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Twitter set up a dedicated site to showcase the top tweets and trends of 2012. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET
2012 has been quite a year, and Twitter today rounded up some of the highlights.

The social media company, which set up a dedicated site for 2012, used both data and "editorial signals" to showcase the top moments and conversations around several themes:

  • Golden Tweets -- the top two tweets that generated the most retweets, plus honorable mentions for others that caught attention
  • The pulse of the planet -- some of the biggest conversations of the year that generated large numbers of tweets and retweets
  • Only on Twitter -- examples of tweets "that came to life organically on Twitter, and can be appreciated in an instant"
  • Top trends -- lists of the significant trends of the year in the U.S., U.K., and Japan
  • New voices -- New Twitter profiles, from the Pope to Pele

The company also partnered with Vizify to allow all Twitter users to visualize their Twitter year for free. It identifies each person's key themes for the year and portrays them in "a while new way."

Not too surprisingly, the most retweeted tweet of the year was President Obama's tweet on election night that said "Four more years" and showed a photo of the president embracing his wife.

Twitter noted that within hours, the tweet simultaneously became the most retweeted of 2012 and the most retweeted ever. And retweets came from people more than 200 countries around the world.

Runner-up was a tweet from Justin Bieber saying goodbye to a fan who died from a rare form of brain cancer in September.

President Obama's tweet was the most retweeted message of 2012 and all time on Twitter. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET
A Justin Bieber tweet was the second-most retweeted message of 2012. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET
Along with most retweeted, Twitter ranked the top trends in categories like conversation starters, politics, TV, sports, movies, music, food, and countries.

For the tech category, Twitter noted that new product announcements -- like the iPad, iPhone, and Kindle -- caused spikes in their Twitter discussion. And other buzzworthy tech terms reflected the social nature of sites like Skype, Pinterest, and Draw Something.

Here's the top 10 trends for tech:

  1. AT&T
  2. iPhone
  3. Instagram
  4. Skype
  5. Kindle
  6. iPad
  7. Pinterest
  8. Draw Something
  9. Amazon
  10. Apple

Twitter also rounded up some notable tweets of 2012, such as Green Bay Packers player TJ Lang voicing his frustration after a "replacement ref" made a much-disputed call during the final play of the Packers-Seahawks game.

And the biggest conversations of 2012 revolved around the presidential election, summer Olympics, and Superstorm Sandy, among other topics.