We don’t know how your 2014 panned out, but for Twitter it’s been a busy and productive year.
Its popularity may have waned with shareholders, but with users it still remains top of the pops. Now you might have expected topical news stories and political events like the crises in Ukraine and Syria to have topped the agenda in this turbulent year, but, the truth is serious stuff just doesn’t cut the mustard with Twitter users. In the social media world of micro-blogging, it appears that people have far more ‘important’ things on their minds. Forget politics and current affairs: what Twitter users really want to talk about is pop music and sport.
So what grabbed the Twitter headlines this year then?
Well, two things really preoccupied Twitter this year – boy band One Direction, and the World Cup. In fact Twitter’s statistics show that 6 of the top 10 most mentioned tweets of the year related to the World Cup. Top of the World Cup charts was Brazil’s spectacular collapse against the mighty Germans, closely followed by Wayne Rooney’s equaliser against Uruguay – who said the boy couldn’t do it on the big stage? In the world of pop One Directions’ Harry Styles tweet celebrating the band’s fourth anniversary was the big winner. Addressing his fans Styles wrote:
“4 years. Thank you to everyone who is involved in this. I feel so lucky to be part of it. Everyone who has worked with us thank you..”
It might not sound that profound or ground-breaking to you or us, but Twitter users were obviously impressed, retweeting the post 359,000 times.
In terms of ‘real’ news, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March was the most talked about event in the UK in 2014. It was closely followed by the Scottish independence vote; the inquest of Mark Duggan, who was shot by police in Tottenham, north London in 2011, and the deaths of US comics Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. However, if you think we’re possibly in danger of getting too serious here, take some comfort from the fact that the third most tweeted event overall in the UK in 2014 list was Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser for England in the team’s eventual defeat against Italy, followed by new year celebrations and Germany’s defeat of Argentina in the World Cup final match. The other World Cup tweets to make the top 10 list were about Croatia scoring against Brazil, and the Netherlands’ 5-1 victory over Spain in their opening match, while matches involving Manchester United and Real Madrid, and One Directions’s best video Brit Award win in February also attracted attention.
From a UK perspective, Twitter’s 2014 statistics showed that users still predominantly stuck to subjects they’d traditionally been interested in – football and One Direction. Globally it was the Brazil World Cup in June and July which broke records to become the most tweeted about subject in 2014.
What other insight has Twitter flagged up as important? Well, the micro-blogging behemoth has labelled 2014 as the year of the ‘selfie’. Twitter worldwide statistics show that users mentioned the word 92 million times in 2014; an increase of 500% on 2013. Top of the list unsurprisingly was Ellen DeGeneres star-filled Oscar selfie which was retweeted over 3 million times. Not far behind that was a selfie featuring Princes William and Harry posing with internet entrepreneur, Jamal Edwards, at a Buckingham Palace event.
So who was king or queen of the hill on Twitter in 2014?
Who’s trending and who’s star is waning? Well, you won’t be surprised to learn that in the UK One Direction appear to rather popular. In fact between them the group have 5 of the most popular UK Twitter accounts. Harry Styles alone has 22.8 million followers. The top 10 UK list also includes artists like Adele, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran, and screen star Emma Watson. But in global terms, home-grown celebrities just couldn’t compete with the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber: Perry is the most-followed person on Twitter with over 61 million followers, whilst Bieber has a following of just over 57 million. Even US President Barack Obama was forced to play second fiddle to those two, with the most powerful man in the world ‘only’ attracting 51 million followers.