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Trends are the topics for which we see noteworthy spikes in Twitter conversations. The 2012 Trends reveal what captured our attention, rather than what terms were consistently popular.

Conversation Starters

Hashtags help to organize conversations around topics: #nowplaying to share your favorite music, or #blessed to enumerate the good things in your life. The popularity of terms like #oomf (“one of my followers”), #lrt (“last Retweet”), #shoutout, and so on highlight the personal interactions at the heart of Twitter.

Hashtags help organize conversations around topics. Popular terms included #oomf (“one of my followers”) and #lrt (“last Retweet”).

  1. #nowplaying
  2. #oomf
  3. #blessed
  4. #quote
  5. #lrt
  1. #salute
  2. #news
  3. #followfriday
  4. #throwbackthursday
  5. #shoutout

Politics

This year, voters discussed candidates and their ads, campaigns and conventions. Hashtags like #tcot (“top conservatives on Twitter”) invited more conversation, and real-time events like the debates saw record levels of engagement.

Voters were passionate about it all: candidates, campaign ads, conventions, and of course gaffes.

  1. #tcot
  2. #teaparty
  3. #gop
  4. #romney
  5. mitt romney
  1. #dnc2012
  2. charlotte
  3. #gop2012
  4. #rnc
  5. #obama2012

TV

People tweet incessantly about favorite contestants on reality shows like Big Brother (#bb14) and American Idol; they obsess over plot points on hits like Pretty Little Liars. TV nostalgia is popular too, as fans reminisce about shows from the past.

People exclaimed about favorite characters, plot points, and past shows.

  1. family guy
  2. #bb14
  3. american dad
  4. hey arnold
  5. american idol
  1. pretty little liars
  2. 106 & park
  3. SNL
  4. fresh prince
  5. boy meets world

Sports

Rooting for their favorite team, discussing an MV player's performance, or getting caught up in Olympic competitions, sports fans never flag on Twitter. And there’s never an off-season.

There’s never an off-season on Twitter. Sports fans tweeted every moment on and off the field.

  1. #nfl
  2. #nascar
  3. #mlb
  4. olympics
  5. #sfgiants
  1. jeremy lin
  2. super bowl
  3. dwight howard
  4. kobe
  5. #yankees

Movies

Movie buffs take to Twitter to discuss the hottest releases, most buzzed-about blockbusters, and all their favorite films. Based on this list, it seems fans are drawn to action flicks and dark tales — but romance always finds a way.

Movie buffs freely assessed (and critiqued) new releases, plots and performances.

  1. think like a man
  2. the hunger games
  3. the avengers
  4. Red Tails
  5. 21 Jump Street
  1. Dark Knight Rises
  2. Dark Shadows
  3. The Devil Inside
  4. Safe House
  5. The Vow

Music

Fans share their favorite songs via hashtags like #nowplaying and #musicmonday. This year, hip-hop stars took center stage on Twitter. Large music festivals like Coachella also generated much live tweeting, and fans all over chatted about performances.

Hip-hop, festivals, and new discoveries led the trends in music tweeting.

  1. rick ross
  2. #hiphop
  3. trey songz
  4. nicki minaj
  5. #musicmonday
  1. kendrick lamar
  2. chris brown
  3. coachella
  4. big sean
  5. r&b

Food

People love talking about food on Twitter. This year, trends spiked around specific eateries and that perennial favorite coffee — as well as a certain coffee chain.

Food trends spiked around specific eateries and that perennial favorite — coffee.

  1. ihop
  2. starbucks
  3. waffle house
  4. mcdonalds
  5. bbq
  1. #coffee
  2. taco bell
  3. denny's
  4. burger king
  5. olive garden

Tech

As new products were announced (cf. the new iPad, iPhone or Kindle), they saw significant spikes in Twitter discussion. Other buzzworthy tech terms reflected the social sphere on platforms like Skype and Pinterest, or with a social game (Draw Something).

Mobile gadgets and social tools led the tech trends category.

  1. at&t
  2. iphone
  3. instagram
  4. skype
  5. kindle
  1. ipad
  2. pinterest
  3. draw something
  4. amazon
  5. apple

Countries

Whether it's firsthand photos from Syria, the drama of Italian football, or the latest in Afghanistan, Americans are tweeting about a wide range of global issues.

Americans tweeted about a wide range of global issues—politics, sports, and social issues.

  1. #syria
  2. china
  3. japan
  4. iran
  5. India
  1. afghanistan
  2. australia
  3. israel
  4. italy
  5. Canada