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The global town square is where the biggest conversations of the year took place: events that generated a large number of Tweets and Retweets. Here are the major occurrences in 2012 for which the world came together to witness and discuss.

Summer Olympics

The 16-day Summer Games in London generated 150 million Tweets. The closing ceremonies (specifically, the Spice Girls’ performance) amassed the largest Games-related spike, 116,000+ Tweets per minute. The largest competition-related conversation: when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (@UsainBolt), most-discussed athlete, won gold in the 200m sprint (80,000 Tweets per minute).
Summer Olympics

Pic: Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, kisses his gold medal after taking to the podium tonight pic.twitter.com/QNHd9WTx

Summer Olympics

The 16-day Summer Games in London generated 150 million Tweets. The closing ceremonies (specifically, the Spice Girls’ performance) amassed the largest Games-related spike, 116,000+ Tweets per minute. The largest competition-related conversation: when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (@UsainBolt), most-discussed athlete, won gold in the 200m sprint (80,000 Tweets per minute).

U.S. election

The first of the U.S. presidential debates produced 10 million Tweets; 31 million+ Tweets were sent about the election on Election Day. As news organizations tallied the results that evening, the conversation about the election on Twitter surged, hitting a peak of 327,452 Tweets per minute (TPM).
U.S. election
Credit: By Doug Mills / New York Times

Photo: Plenty of pointing fingers in the second debate between Obama and Romney (by @dougmillsnyt) pic.twitter.com/KgqkgZM2

U.S. election

The first of the U.S. presidential debates produced 10 million Tweets; 31 million+ Tweets were sent about the election on Election Day. As news organizations tallied the results that evening, the conversation about the election on Twitter surged, hitting a peak of 327,452 Tweets per minute (TPM).

MTV Video Music Awards

Over 52 million votes were cast via Tweets for the “Most Sharable Video” for this year’s MTV Video Music Awards show. The show itself generated 14.7 million Tweets; the biggest peak of the night went to the moment One Direction won Best Pop Video with 98,307 Tweets per minute. Taylor Swift’s performance was the night’s second biggest moment, generating 86,275 Tweets per minute.
MTV Video Music Awards

MTV Video Music Awards

Over 52 million votes were cast via Tweets for the “Most Sharable Video” for this year’s MTV Video Music Awards show. The show itself generated 14.7 million Tweets; the biggest peak of the night went to the moment One Direction won Best Pop Video with 98,307 Tweets per minute. Taylor Swift’s performance was the night’s second biggest moment, generating 86,275 Tweets per minute.

Super Bowl

Super Bowl fans had a lot to say about this year’s Giants-Patriots February 5th match. We saw 13.7 million Super Bowl-related Tweets during the game; 1 million of them appeared in the final 5 minutes. Tweets spiked when an incomplete pass by the Patriots sealed the Giants’ victory, at 201,466 Tweets per minute. Madonna’s halftime show saw 108,077 Tweets per minute.
Super Bowl

Here's what @Giants & @Patriots'll be fighting 4 Sunday: Lombardi trophy, on-set 4 Super Bowl LIVE. pic.twitter.com/d5eWgFuu

Super Bowl

Super Bowl fans had a lot to say about this year’s Giants-Patriots February 5th match. We saw 13.7 million Super Bowl-related Tweets during the game; 1 million of them appeared in the final 5 minutes. Tweets spiked when an incomplete pass by the Patriots sealed the Giants’ victory, at 201,466 Tweets per minute. Madonna’s halftime show saw 108,077 Tweets per minute.

Euro 2012

Nothing ignites global conversation like a football match. During this final in which Spain beat Italy 4-0, Juan Mata’s goal sparked 267,200 Tweets per minute. Other big Twitter moments: Mario Balotelli’s second goal for Italy against Germany, Cesc Fabregas’ goal for Spain against Italy, and Spain’s defeat of Portugal in the semi-finals.
Euro 2012

Great! This is amazing! This is for everybody, you deserve it! pic.twitter.com/aj3KuPrm

Euro 2012

Nothing ignites global conversation like a football match. During this final in which Spain beat Italy 4-0, Juan Mata’s goal sparked 267,200 Tweets per minute. Other big Twitter moments: Mario Balotelli’s second goal for Italy against Germany, Cesc Fabregas’ goal for Spain against Italy, and Spain’s defeat of Portugal in the semi-finals.

Superstorm Sandy

Between October 27 and November 1, people sent more than 20 million Tweets about Sandy’s impact and aftermath. When the power went out in much of New York City, mobile usage from people there more than doubled from the previous two days. Afterwards, people sought ways to help: Tweets mentioning the word “donate” reached a 180-day peak; the phrase “donate blood” a 365-day peak.
Superstorm Sandy

Superstorm Sandy

Between October 27 and November 1, people sent more than 20 million Tweets about Sandy’s impact and aftermath. When the power went out in much of New York City, mobile usage from people there more than doubled from the previous two days. Afterwards, people sought ways to help: Tweets mentioning the word “donate” reached a 180-day peak; the phrase “donate blood” a 365-day peak.

UEFA Champions League Semi-Final

In April, fans around the world tuned in to watch the Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea. During the game, total global traffic on the platform peaked at 184,535 Tweets per minute following Fernando Torres’ goal to tie the game for Chelsea, making this single game one of the biggest sports-related Twitter moments this year.
UEFA Champions League Semi-Final

Seen it all now.....Torres scores, makes it 2-2 on the night and astonishingly, gloriously Chelsea are in the final of the Champions League

UEFA Champions League Semi-Final

In April, fans around the world tuned in to watch the Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea. During the game, total global traffic on the platform peaked at 184,535 Tweets per minute following Fernando Torres’ goal to tie the game for Chelsea, making this single game one of the biggest sports-related Twitter moments this year.

“Summer Wars” obsession

Japanese anime movie “Summer Wars” was broadcast on Nihon TV in July. During the film, the main character hits the enter key and says, “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!” (“Please!”). Thousands of fans of both anime and Twitter created their own “live” event by tweeting that line exactly when the main character says it in the film.
“Summer Wars” obsession
Credit: Summer Wars Film Partners

【サマウォクラスタへ】サマーウォーズが好きすぎて、Twitterの空気感をオズ風に表示するサイト作りました。よろしくお願いしまぁぁあああす! tword.net pic.twitter.com/84kMQ70l

“Summer Wars” obsession

Japanese anime movie “Summer Wars” was broadcast on Nihon TV in July. During the film, the main character hits the enter key and says, “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!” (“Please!”). Thousands of fans of both anime and Twitter created their own “live” event by tweeting that line exactly when the main character says it in the film.

Whitney Houston

On February 11, news broke that Whitney Houston passed away unexpectedly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Many of the superstar’s fans saw the news on Twitter, and tweeted to express their grief and share gratitude for her music. The news of her passing generated more than 10 million Tweets (73,662 Tweets per minute). Later, fans and performers saluted her with nearly 2 million Tweets during a live televised funeral and tribute.
Whitney Houston
Credit: Clive Davis, on Twitter

R.I.P. Whitney Houston. Retweet for respect.

Whitney Houston

On February 11, news broke that Whitney Houston passed away unexpectedly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Many of the superstar’s fans saw the news on Twitter, and tweeted to express their grief and share gratitude for her music. The news of her passing generated more than 10 million Tweets (73,662 Tweets per minute). Later, fans and performers saluted her with nearly 2 million Tweets during a live televised funeral and tribute.

SOPA/PIPA

Two controversial antipiracy bills under consideration in Congress (SOPA in the House, PIPA in the Senate) were hotly discussed Twitter topics. As debate heated up, “SOPA” on Twitter exploded from 106,000 mentions to 3.5 million 24 hours later. Similarly, in the same day, 86,500 “PIPA” mentions grew to more than 655,500.
SOPA/PIPA
Credit: Clay Shirky by alecperkins, on Flickr

SOPA/PIPA

Two controversial antipiracy bills under consideration in Congress (SOPA in the House, PIPA in the Senate) were hotly discussed Twitter topics. As debate heated up, “SOPA” on Twitter exploded from 106,000 mentions to 3.5 million 24 hours later. Similarly, in the same day, 86,500 “PIPA” mentions grew to more than 655,500.