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Moments of serendipity and just plain awesomeness (if there is such a thing) are what we call #onlyontwitter. These are examples of Tweets that came to life organically on Twitter, and can be appreciated in an instant.

Exploring new worlds

Live, from Mars

@NASA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (@NASAJPL) live-tweeted as the @MarsCuriosity rover made its descent onto the Red Planet. The team shared Twitter updates realtime with the world, inspiring over 350,000 tweets that reached a potential 1.2 billion people.
Live, from Mars

Live, from Mars

@NASA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (@NASAJPL) live-tweeted as the @MarsCuriosity rover made its descent onto the Red Planet. The team shared Twitter updates realtime with the world, inspiring over 350,000 tweets that reached a potential 1.2 billion people.

A superstorm from space

The International Space Station (ISS) captured live images of Sandy as it tore its way up the East Coast of the U.S. As they followed the superstorm from their unique vantage point, astronauts tweeted live images to the world.
A superstorm from space
Credit: Sunita Williams on Twitpic

Hope everyone is doing ok with the storm. Saw on our flight path yesterday. From our vantage point  twitpic.com/b8t6fg

A superstorm from space

The International Space Station (ISS) captured live images of Sandy as it tore its way up the East Coast of the U.S. As they followed the superstorm from their unique vantage point, astronauts tweeted live images to the world.

Everyone in the pool

We were all immersed as @L2012PoolCam tweeted live images from underneath the water during the London Olympics swimming races. The swimmers dove, raced, flipped and crossed the finish line right in front of us.
Everyone in the pool

Everyone in the pool

We were all immersed as @L2012PoolCam tweeted live images from underneath the water during the London Olympics swimming races. The swimmers dove, raced, flipped and crossed the finish line right in front of us.

The hardest climb

Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki (@kurikiyama_en) live-tweeted his way up Mount Everest. He did not make it to the top because of extreme winds and frostbite.
The hardest climb
Credit: Nobukazu Kuriki on Twitpic

I've left 7500m camp for Everest summit push on 10:30pm JST. It's really cold, dark and like space. I can only see stars.

The hardest climb

Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki (@kurikiyama_en) live-tweeted his way up Mount Everest. He did not make it to the top because of extreme winds and frostbite.

Endeavor going home

The space shuttle Endeavour’s final ride was on the back of modified Boeing 747 to its new home in Los Angeles. The trip included a fly-by through the San Francisco Bay Area, and space fans along the way captured and shared the remarkable sight.
Endeavor going home
Credit: Lara Eakins on Twitpic

Endeavor going home

The space shuttle Endeavour’s final ride was on the back of modified Boeing 747 to its new home in Los Angeles. The trip included a fly-by through the San Francisco Bay Area, and space fans along the way captured and shared the remarkable sight.

The deepest Tweet

Blockbuster movie director James Cameron took the second-ever dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, and became the first person to send a Tweet from 35,755 feet beneath the sea.
The deepest Tweet
Credit: © Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic. The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible begins its first 2.5-mile (4-km) test dive off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The sub is the centerpiece of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by explorer and filmmaker James Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

Just arrived at the ocean's deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can't wait to share what I'm seeing w/ you @DeepChallenge

The deepest Tweet

Blockbuster movie director James Cameron took the second-ever dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, and became the first person to send a Tweet from 35,755 feet beneath the sea.

Getting closer

Indoor, outdoor sports converge

During the State of the Union address in January, NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco tweeted an observation to House Speaker John Boehner. Their friendly exchange traversed their respective worlds.
Indoor, outdoor sports converge
Credit: By Speaker John Boehner, on Twitter

@SpeakerBoehner Just read some of your tweets and you seem pretty angry kind sir. I can see you on tv but you're not smiling. Hope you're ok

@ochocinco: Thanks & good luck in the @SuperBowl; we'll see you in the playoffs next year. Go

Indoor, outdoor sports converge

During the State of the Union address in January, NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco tweeted an observation to House Speaker John Boehner. Their friendly exchange traversed their respective worlds.

A grateful POTUS tweets

After being re-elected President, Barack Obama took to Twitter to thank voters, even before he took the stage for his post-election speech.
A grateful POTUS tweets
Credit: By Barack Obama, on Twitter

We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you. -bo

A grateful POTUS tweets

After being re-elected President, Barack Obama took to Twitter to thank voters, even before he took the stage for his post-election speech.

Panda (re)production

The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. live-tweeted the artificial insemination of Mei Xiang, their beloved 13-year-old Giant Panda. Panda fans tracked all of the details, including photos, via the hashtag #pandaAI.
Panda (re)production
Credit: Zhen Zhen by Kjunstorm, on Flickr

They shifted the table and are positioning Mei’s head lower than her pelvis. Gravity’s important here. pic.twitter.com/khzSLzPc

Panda (re)production

The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. live-tweeted the artificial insemination of Mei Xiang, their beloved 13-year-old Giant Panda. Panda fans tracked all of the details, including photos, via the hashtag #pandaAI.

A legend connects

Rock legend Neil Young joined Twitter and connected one by one with followers during a Twitter Q&A. Whether he talked about his latest album or his picks for the World Series, @NeilYoung charmed new and long-time fans.
A legend connects
Credit: Neil Young by Man Alive!, on Flickr

A legend connects

Rock legend Neil Young joined Twitter and connected one by one with followers during a Twitter Q&A. Whether he talked about his latest album or his picks for the World Series, @NeilYoung charmed new and long-time fans.

Licensed to tweet

When “Skyfall,” the latest Bond movie, premiered, author and comedian Charlie Higson translated the original 12 Bond novels into 140 character Tweets. When you’re short of characters, 007 is one less than Bond.
Licensed to tweet
Credit: By Twitter UK, on Twitter

Today I will be mostly tweeting all 12 Fleming Bond novels in 140 characters or less

Licensed to tweet

When “Skyfall,” the latest Bond movie, premiered, author and comedian Charlie Higson translated the original 12 Bond novels into 140 character Tweets. When you’re short of characters, 007 is one less than Bond.

Primetime prank

During the Emmys broadcast, host Jimmy Kimmel set up a live joke, encouraging the audience to tweet, “OMG Tracy Morgan passed out on stage.” The line instantly sparked Twitter conversation, and as people tuned in, they saw Kimmel and Morgan play it to the hilt.
Primetime prank

Oh my God - Tracy Morgan just passed out onstage at the Emmys - turn ABC on NOW!"

Primetime prank

During the Emmys broadcast, host Jimmy Kimmel set up a live joke, encouraging the audience to tweet, “OMG Tracy Morgan passed out on stage.” The line instantly sparked Twitter conversation, and as people tuned in, they saw Kimmel and Morgan play it to the hilt.

“Father” tweets best

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, live-tweeted from the stage at the 2012 Opening Ceremony. A London native, his Tweet was “for everyone.”
“Father” tweets best
Credit: By Olympics, on Twitter

“Father” tweets best

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, live-tweeted from the stage at the 2012 Opening Ceremony. A London native, his Tweet was “for everyone.”

Under the Westway

UK superstar band Blur tweeted the news to their fans that they would release two new singles, their first in two years, and live-streamed their release.
Under the Westway
Credit: rise please by uncommon daily, on Flickr

Click the player or the link blur.co.uk/livestream to start the live stream – first song, Under the Westway 18.15pm BST

Under the Westway

UK superstar band Blur tweeted the news to their fans that they would release two new singles, their first in two years, and live-streamed their release.

Fiction flourishes

Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan tried her hand at a new form: a short story on Twitter. The New Yorker’s fiction desk serialized her story “Black Box” using the 140-character limit as a creative filter, to let the tale unfold in a compelling new way.
Fiction flourishes

Fiction flourishes

Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan tried her hand at a new form: a short story on Twitter. The New Yorker’s fiction desk serialized her story “Black Box” using the 140-character limit as a creative filter, to let the tale unfold in a compelling new way.

Royal expectations

Within minutes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announcing that they're expecting a child, congratulatory tweets began to stream in from across the globe. Throughout the day, #RoyalBaby and related terms trended, and more than a million Tweets reflected keen interest in the next-gen royal.
Royal expectations
Credit: KATE & WILLIAM 1 by Tom Soper Photography, on Flickr

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby - bit.ly/11GYnaj

Royal expectations

Within minutes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announcing that they're expecting a child, congratulatory tweets began to stream in from across the globe. Throughout the day, #RoyalBaby and related terms trended, and more than a million Tweets reflected keen interest in the next-gen royal.

For a cause

A plea for medical insurance

Just back from vacation, Arijit Guha started to feel sick. What he thought might be a virus turned out to be much worse: a malignant growth that turned out to be Stage IV colon cancer. After hitting the limit on his insurance, he reached out to his insurer on Twitter to plead his case. Company’s CEO Mark Bertolini responded directly to Arijit, and personally directed the company to help cover the gap.
A plea for medical insurance

@Poop_Strong @I_Am_Arijit, @AetnaHelp has been trying to reach you and we want to help. Can we please connect?

A plea for medical insurance

Just back from vacation, Arijit Guha started to feel sick. What he thought might be a virus turned out to be much worse: a malignant growth that turned out to be Stage IV colon cancer. After hitting the limit on his insurance, he reached out to his insurer on Twitter to plead his case. Company’s CEO Mark Bertolini responded directly to Arijit, and personally directed the company to help cover the gap.

Politics of breast cancer

Breast cancer charity Komen for the Cure sparked a massive protest on Twitter after the group announced in January it would no longer make cancer-screening grants to Planned Parenthood. The outpouring of comments generally supportive of Planned Parenthood filled Twitter streams and sparked a much larger national debate on the issues surrounding the decision.
Politics of breast cancer
Credit: By Farrah Udell, on Twitter

Komen’s decision hurts women - it puts politics before women’s health. @KomenfortheCure should be ashamed. tinyurl.com/77xhkoy

Politics of breast cancer

Breast cancer charity Komen for the Cure sparked a massive protest on Twitter after the group announced in January it would no longer make cancer-screening grants to Planned Parenthood. The outpouring of comments generally supportive of Planned Parenthood filled Twitter streams and sparked a much larger national debate on the issues surrounding the decision.

Protest on protest

After a documentary highlighted the deeds of notorious Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony and his group LRA, Twitter users voiced their opposition: #StopKony trended worldwide. The documentary was made by the charity Invisible Children (IC). Besides #StopKony, people expressed their concern about the motives of the filmmaker and IC’s founder.
Protest on protest
Credit: March 8 by ra_coons, on Flickr

The worst living criminal remains at large b/c he’s invisible to the world. On March 5th goes viral. bit.ly/WATCHKONY2012

2- The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.

Protest on protest

After a documentary highlighted the deeds of notorious Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony and his group LRA, Twitter users voiced their opposition: #StopKony trended worldwide. The documentary was made by the charity Invisible Children (IC). Besides #StopKony, people expressed their concern about the motives of the filmmaker and IC’s founder.

City Hall calling

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker is known for communicating with residents on Twitter, and even better known for responding quickly. During superstorm Sandy, Booker not only let victims stay at his home; he arranged for a steady supply of a favorite local snack: Hot Pockets.
City Hall calling
Credit: Mayor @CoryBooker by @Twitter, on Flickr

@CoryBooker a my nigga i m running out of hotpockets to put in the oven

I believe in you. I know this is a problem you can handle. RT @DAT_NIGGA_REEE a my nigga i m running out of hotpockets to put in the oven

Full letter from @hotpockets donating 100s of coupons for free Hot Pockets to Newarkers (PHOTO) pic.twitter.com/oVO2eYZk

City Hall calling

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker is known for communicating with residents on Twitter, and even better known for responding quickly. During superstorm Sandy, Booker not only let victims stay at his home; he arranged for a steady supply of a favorite local snack: Hot Pockets.

The world of Ai Weiwei

Known for his public stands against Chinese government repression, artist Ai Weiwei has been placed under house arrest and is not allowed to travel outside China. He has turned to the Internet, and in particular to Twitter, to engage with the world. As he often says, “Twitter is [my] favorite city.”
The world of Ai Weiwei
Credit: Free Ai weiwei! by DeluCarloe, on Flickr

The world of Ai Weiwei

Known for his public stands against Chinese government repression, artist Ai Weiwei has been placed under house arrest and is not allowed to travel outside China. He has turned to the Internet, and in particular to Twitter, to engage with the world. As he often says, “Twitter is [my] favorite city.”

Reprise: Berlin Wall

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down after 28 years of dividing the city. On November 9, 2012, @9Nov89live captured the historic anniversary via Tweets. German citizens and many others joined the conversation using the hashtag #TwitternWie1989 (“tweeting like in 1989”) to share their very personal memories.
Reprise: Berlin Wall
Credit: Berlin Wall by NatalieMaynor, on Flickr

Reprise: Berlin Wall

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down after 28 years of dividing the city. On November 9, 2012, @9Nov89live captured the historic anniversary via Tweets. German citizens and many others joined the conversation using the hashtag #TwitternWie1989 (“tweeting like in 1989”) to share their very personal memories.

On the ground in Syria

Stationed in Qubair, a small Muslim village in Syria, BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar frequently investigated reports of area uprisings and killings. At one point he didn’t have access to a broadcast camera — just his mobile phone. His compelling reportage took shape via his Tweets.
On the ground in Syria
Credit: By Paul Danahar, on Twitter

The following is what I understand are the accurate details of from various conversation with knowledgable dip's in (1/3)

: Killings by locals on locals, unclear if under instruction. Nobody's throat was cut. Mainly women & kids as men away. (2/3)

: Most died by rooms being sprayed with bullets, not execution style gun to the head. One person had eye gouged out (3/3)

On the ground in Syria

Stationed in Qubair, a small Muslim village in Syria, BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar frequently investigated reports of area uprisings and killings. At one point he didn’t have access to a broadcast camera — just his mobile phone. His compelling reportage took shape via his Tweets.

Egyptian election

Egyptian citizens went to the polls in June to freely elect the first post-Mubarak presidential candidate. Tweets from Cairo offered a perspective on the new climate in Tahrir Square.
Egyptian election
Credit: Tahrir post Mubarak's verdict by Gigi Ibrahim, on Flickr

Anticipation in Tahrir is incredible. People gathered around nearby tv and radio sets, constantly refreshing their twitters, tension.

Egyptian election

Egyptian citizens went to the polls in June to freely elect the first post-Mubarak presidential candidate. Tweets from Cairo offered a perspective on the new climate in Tahrir Square.

Get in the game

Tweeting for the Gold

Tyler Clary gave us a glimpse inside the mind of an Olympian as he live-tweeted the 200m backstroke at the London Games. Given the tape delay from the UK to the U.S., he could tweet his innermost thoughts as they occurred to him during the race.
Tweeting for the Gold
Credit: By L2012 Pool Camera, on Twitter

Who wants to hear my narrative of what was happening leading up to my race and even after the race???

I'm back in the ready room dancing and listening to a little dubstep, but right before I came out I switched on "The Motto" by Drake :)

I see that I'm behind Ryan at the 100 but I am only thinking about building into the last 75

All I could think about after I saw that result was my high school coach Kevin Perry who passed away during my freshman year of college

Tweeting for the Gold

Tyler Clary gave us a glimpse inside the mind of an Olympian as he live-tweeted the 200m backstroke at the London Games. Given the tape delay from the UK to the U.S., he could tweet his innermost thoughts as they occurred to him during the race.

Swimmer makes the cut

It was a Tweet from Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman that informed Olympic hopeful Ricky Berens he qualified for the 2012 team, because Phelps would not be competing in the 200m freestyle. The coach’s Tweet gave Berens the nod to replace Phelps.
Swimmer makes the cut
Credit: By Tori Houk, on Twitter

Words can't describe how I am feeling right now. If Twitter is right, I am swimming the 200 free at the Olympics!!!!! This is nuts!!!

Swimmer makes the cut

It was a Tweet from Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman that informed Olympic hopeful Ricky Berens he qualified for the 2012 team, because Phelps would not be competing in the 200m freestyle. The coach’s Tweet gave Berens the nod to replace Phelps.

MLB player meets a friend

Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie* tweeted to find somebody for a game of catch at Coors Field. He connected with his Twitter follower Woody Roseland, and the pair played catch. Guthrie tweeted that Roseland, a five-time cancer survivor and amputee, is not only an inspiration to him — but a new friend.
— *He later joined the Kansas City Royals
MLB player meets a friend
Credit: Coors Field Autostitch 2 by compujeramey, on Flickr

I was trying to find a catch partner (thanks for bailing Chatwood) & found a FRIEND & example of courage.@WoodyRoseland You are inspiring!

MLB player meets a friend

Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie* tweeted to find somebody for a game of catch at Coors Field. He connected with his Twitter follower Woody Roseland, and the pair played catch. Guthrie tweeted that Roseland, a five-time cancer survivor and amputee, is not only an inspiration to him — but a new friend.
— *He later joined the Kansas City Royals

Only hurts when he laughs

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive during a game, suffering an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and a skull fracture. Concerned fans were relieved to see that after surgery, McCarthy was back on Twitter — and more hilarious than ever. So was his wife, Amanda.
Only hurts when he laughs
Credit: By Joe Farris, on Twitter

WELL IF BEING DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL ISNT THE BEST TIME TO ASK ABOUT A THREESOME THEN IM FRESH OUT OF IDEAS

@BMcCarthy32 I WILL strike someone with a brain injury

Only hurts when he laughs

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive during a game, suffering an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and a skull fracture. Concerned fans were relieved to see that after surgery, McCarthy was back on Twitter — and more hilarious than ever. So was his wife, Amanda.

Fire on the track

When the car ahead of him burst into flames at the Daytona 500, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski brought the action to us by live-tweeting from his car. Luckily, the huge ball of fire didn’t harm the other driver.
Fire on the track

Fire on the track

When the car ahead of him burst into flames at the Daytona 500, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski brought the action to us by live-tweeting from his car. Luckily, the huge ball of fire didn’t harm the other driver.

Talk to Pelé

Before Euro 2012 got underway in July, international soccer legend Pelé joined Twitter in April, taking questions from his legions of fans.
Talk to Pelé
Credit: By Pelé, on Twitter

@Pele do you think that Brazil can make a good job in Brazil 2014

.@erikgm98 I sure hope so! We have good individual players but we have to prepare as a team.

@Pele who was the best player you ever played with and the best you played against

.@matthammie1984 Best I played against was @beckenbauer and Bob Moore.

@Pele out of all the world cup finals you played, which one was your favorite

.@GusOrdaz World Cup Sweden at 17 years old. Youngest player to win . This you cannot forget.

Talk to Pelé

Before Euro 2012 got underway in July, international soccer legend Pelé joined Twitter in April, taking questions from his legions of fans.

No longer rivals

Fifteen years ago, boxing champion Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield. What made headlines wasn’t who won — it was that Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear. At long last, this year, they have made peace.
No longer rivals
Credit: Mike Tyson, on Twitter

.@WBCBoxing just reminded me today is the anniversary of the ear biting incident. Love you @holyfield. You are a true champion.

@MikeTyson @WBCBoxing as I recall u bit both of my ears....other 1 wasn't marinated n my RealDealBBQ sauce. LOL! It's all good bro!

No longer rivals

Fifteen years ago, boxing champion Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield. What made headlines wasn’t who won — it was that Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear. At long last, this year, they have made peace.

#PrayforMuamba

When footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch with a heart attack, British football fans threw aside club rivalries to #PrayforMuamba - a phrase that was tweeted more than 700,000 times in March.
#PrayforMuamba
Credit: fabrice muamba, on Twitter

#PrayforMuamba

When footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch with a heart attack, British football fans threw aside club rivalries to #PrayforMuamba - a phrase that was tweeted more than 700,000 times in March.

Premier League fires, hires

Even after a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Juventus, Chelsea parting company with manager Roberto di Matteo came out of the blue for most fans. The news broke on Twitter with @ChelseaFC’s tweet. Later in the day Chelsea announced its new manager, Rafael Benítez via Twitter.
Premier League fires, hires
Credit: Chelsea FC

Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with manager Roberto Di Matteo. More to follow...

Premier League fires, hires

Even after a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Juventus, Chelsea parting company with manager Roberto di Matteo came out of the blue for most fans. The news broke on Twitter with @ChelseaFC’s tweet. Later in the day Chelsea announced its new manager, Rafael Benítez via Twitter.

Marshall Madness

During March Madness, UNC point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist, prompting fans to tweet messages of support to him with photos of their wrists — emblazoned with his number, 5.
Marshall Madness

Marshall Madness

During March Madness, UNC point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist, prompting fans to tweet messages of support to him with photos of their wrists — emblazoned with his number, 5.

Trading is part of the game

After being traded to the Houston Rockets, NBA guard James Harden made headlines, and got Twitter buzz. The fans weren’t the only ones caught off guard; players around the league weighed in on the trade as well.
Trading is part of the game
Credit: By NBA on Twitpic

Trading is part of the game

After being traded to the Houston Rockets, NBA guard James Harden made headlines, and got Twitter buzz. The fans weren’t the only ones caught off guard; players around the league weighed in on the trade as well.