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November 24, 2011 2:16 AM   Subscribe

As we wind down 2011, we think of the most exciting moments from the last year. We measure these moments by "Tweets per minute". The 10 Most Tweeted Moments Of All Time all happened during the last year. Remember when Osama bin Laden died? (Number 10: 5,106 tweets per second.) There was an earthquake in Japan (Number 7: 5,530 tweets per second.) There were sporting events. But the Number 1 most tweeted event of 2011 was...

this.

(8,868 tweets per second.)
posted by twoleftfeet (55 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I sure hope that the whole "See the results after the jump!" thing doesn't become a trend on MetaFilter.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:19 AM on November 24, 2011 [55 favorites]


Really? I didn't have any comments on Beyonce in my twitter feed. I must follow the right people.
posted by Kris10_b at 2:22 AM on November 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Of all time" here having the unusually restrictive meaning of "since 2006"
posted by iotic at 2:28 AM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is it Skyrim? I bet it's Skyrim.
posted by Diskeater at 2:29 AM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


But how much substance was there here? Very little if any.
posted by episodic at 2:30 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The most tweeted moments of all time, that's like since the start of the universe right? Since that was over 14 billion years ago, this is a pretty significant list.
posted by joannemullen at 2:30 AM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


As we wind down 2011, we think of the most exciting moments from the last year. We measure these moments by "Tweets per minute".

Then the most exciting moments in 2012 and henceforth are all likely to happen in China and India and involve people and events most of us barely know about. China just went past the United States in the number of smartphones sold per quarter and it cannot be long until the vast majority of this traffic is centered in another part of the world and measured in terms of kilo- and mega-tweets per minute.
posted by three blind mice at 2:56 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


10. Osama Bin Laden’s Death
9. East Coast Earthquake
8. Last Game of the 2011 NBA Finals
7. Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami
6. UEFA Champions League (Final)
5. 2011 BET Awards
4. New Year’s Day, Japan
3. Brazil Eliminated From Copa América
2. FIFA Women’s World Cup
1. Beyoncé Reveals Baby Bump

But the most popular pageview-whoring tweet of all time was ....

this.
posted by benzenedream at 3:06 AM on November 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


The most frequent activity at my home since the advent of Thursday, November 24 th, 2011, was taking the dog out (twice), followed by pouring coffee.
posted by tomswift at 3:40 AM on November 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Given that Twitter keeps growing, it makes sense that the most popular moments have been in the past year. Even then, I can't help but be reminded that we have a network of information so powerful that it is difficult to fathom even with a decent background in technology. We can broadcast information throughout the world over a system where we can reach more people than we will ever see in our lifetimes, no matter how briefly. Even a small fraction of people online working towards a productive project is an incredible number which was nearly impossible a mere generation ago.

Then I remember two things. First, the largest faction of people online are wielding this immensely powerful tool for the purposes of tracking the every move of celebrities and sending fear based chain emails suggesting we are facing the end of the world as we know it at the hands of people different from them. Second, I am really grouchy about the previous part even if I'm not exactly the most productive online citizen either.

Also, Twitter can bite my long-winded fleshy butt. With bandwidth that can transfer novels in fractions of a second, I want more than 140 characters.
posted by Saydur at 3:53 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have made one comment on Metafilter since 3 a.m. on November 24th.
posted by chavenet at 3:54 AM on November 24, 2011


let's all sing like the birdies sing

tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet
posted by pyramid termite at 3:57 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


So... the Arab Spring was apparently not tweeted according to whoever made this list?
posted by infini at 4:26 AM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yo Osama. I'm real happy for you and Ima let you finish, but Beyonce's baby bump was the most tweeted Twitter topic of the year! the year!
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 4:37 AM on November 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


It probably didn't inspire the high rate of tweeting that would be required to make the list. Which makes it a fairly poor measure of importance. (The post title refers to this fact ironically.)
posted by JHarris at 4:37 AM on November 24, 2011


This is a measure of peak tweeting - not the number of tweets. The arab spring will have had many tweets, but they would have been distributed over weeks. This is a list of flash-pan news - most of these events would have been tweet-worthy for a very brief window of time, hence the spike.
posted by YAMWAK at 4:55 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"we think of the most exciting moments from the last year. We measure these moments by 'Tweets per minute'".

I cry for the universe in which this is true.
posted by Mike D at 5:03 AM on November 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


I dont want to live on this planet anymore.
posted by milarepa at 5:28 AM on November 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's kind of an interesting list. Despite all the hate, only two of those are celebrity-focused (not counting Bin Laden as a celebrity), and a good percentage of them aren't US-focused. Which may or may not say anything about Twitter users, the use of electronic communication outside the US, etc. In some ways, communication that can easily be done with a phone -- eg texting and tweating -- is more egalitarian that communication that can be done with a computer, since the start up and operation costs are much lower. This is not a very interesting article in the end, but I think a lot of interesting work could be done studying the demographics and the way people use technologies outside of their "primary purpose."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:49 AM on November 24, 2011


What's wrong with everyone?

Why, they're twitterpated!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:55 AM on November 24, 2011


I've put it into a more friendly form on my blog, showing rank - event - TPs - Data

Also, I've switched 8 & 7, as the BI put them in the wrong order. This list now reads:


10. Osama Bin Laden’s Death - 5,106 - 1st May 2011
9. East Coast Earthquake - 5,449 - 23rd August 2011
8. Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - 5,530 - 14th March 2011
7. Last Game of the 2011 NBA Finals - 5,531 - 12th June 2011
6. UEFA Champions League (Final) - 6,303 - 28th May 2011
5. 2011 BET Awards - 6,436 - 26th June 2011
4. New Year’s Day, Japan - 6,939 - 1st January 2011
3. Brazil Eliminated From Copa América - 7,166 - 17th July 2011
2. FIFA Women’s World Cup - 7,196 - 17th July 2011
1. Beyoncé Reveals Baby Bump - 8,868 - 28th August 2011

(Excuse the link to my blog...)
posted by DanCall at 6:34 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


kill me, kill me now.
posted by Theta States at 6:36 AM on November 24, 2011


50 years from now we will still be asking each other 'Where were YOU when you got that tweet about Beyoncé's Baby Bump'?
posted by mazola at 6:46 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't even know Beyoncé was pregnant. I know I saw tweets about 8, 9 and 10, but I don't think I saw the other 7. I have an inferior twitter stream.
posted by jeather at 6:49 AM on November 24, 2011


Considering that twitter is still growing (although there are outliers there is definitely a chronological slant to those numbers) and there is over a month left in the year, isn't this a bit premature?
posted by TedW at 6:49 AM on November 24, 2011


So sports rule on Twitter. God knows that sports enthusiasts have been muzzled for too long so it is good to see that they at long last have an outlet for their excitement.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:50 AM on November 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


"we think of the most exciting moments from the last year. We measure these moments by 'Tweets per minute'".

In defense of the original article (although _eleven pages_ for that), it doesn't actually seem to be claiming this. The question it asks is:
So what makes a moment worth tweeting about?
This is a significantly less ridiculous metric, although it is also a considerably less useful one, as all it actually tells you is that an event with a lot of tweets per minute/second is an event "worth tweeting about". And it actually doesn't even tell you that, exactly - worthiness is subjective here, and there are events worth tweeting about that will have fewer tweets per minute than events less worth tweeting about, FSVO worth.

I'd say that the factors that would need to be balanced out statistically to draw an equivalence between exciting-ness and tweets per minute include but are not limited to:
  • Specific interest of event to Twitter-using demographics
  • Event taking place suddenly (e.g. a goal being scored, a sports event ending, or a media release being publicized)
  • Event occurring during peak Tweeting hours (I would assume daytime EST/PST)
And so on. Right now, without adjustment, all this measures is how successfully an event has made itself highly tweetable for a short period of time, which is of use to social media experts and PRs, maybe, but not to many other people.

three blind mice: Then the most exciting moments in 2012 and henceforth are all likely to happen in China and India and involve people and events most of us barely know about.

That's another issue with Tweets as a mark of significance, of course. Sina Weibo, China's most successful short-messaging service, has over 250 million users, and there are plenty of other weibo sites in the market. Tom Cruise has three million followers on Sina Weibo. If he announces something shocking, do you add those numbers to Twitter numbers, or just ignore them? How about Facebook? Or, you know, Plurk.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:57 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


By DanCall's list, you can see that not only did the top ten instigations of Twitter traffic all occur this year, but the heavier-trafficed events occurred later in the year.

This is much more a reflection of the trends in general Twitter volume rather than the impact of any one thing. There will be more #lions hashtagged tweets today than there were #obama tweets on election night of 2008. The annual Thanksgiving game has little historical significance; it's simply that there are many billions more tweets being sent now than three years ago, and there are more ways, and easier ways, to send tweets now than then.
posted by ardgedee at 7:10 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would seem that even in this questionable metric, a % of total volume would be a lot more appropriate.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:12 AM on November 24, 2011


The most tweeted moments of all time, that's like since the start of the universe right? Since that was over 14 billion years ago, this is a pretty significant list.

I assume this is just a more extreme example of the Golden Age of Cinema that IMDB always tell me we are living in. Off the 100 highest-rated films of all time, almost one quarter have come out since 2000. Pretty good for an art form that goes back over a century.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:40 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the most popular pageview-whoring tweet of all time was ....

I do not remember ever seeing that scene or hearing that song before, despite their acknowledged fame, and together they make me want to hurt you.
posted by psoas at 7:40 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]




Aggregation is the greatest triumph of the democranet. While the individual actions of a twittering peon are generally considered contemptibly meaningless, the accumulation of billions of these button-twitchings flawlessly reveals humanity's "macroscopic" preoccupations. (Similarly, the act of favouriting on MeFi is - according to many - abhorrent when considered as an individual act, but the emergent thousand-favourite posts and comments are a sure guide to the best of the site.) As such, we should embrace our individual stupidities which, when multiplied by the masses, transform into priceless information about the species. In fact, the more tiny, individual acts of stupidity we perform, the greater our contribution to the amazing emergent phenomena that result therefrom. And that's why I just drew an acsii-art "spunking cock" and memailed it to everyone in this thread.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:54 AM on November 24, 2011


Totally called number 1. Didn't even have to click through.

And I mean, man. That Countdown video, right? I said goddamn.
posted by pts at 7:57 AM on November 24, 2011


twitter makes me feel old
posted by fistynuts at 8:09 AM on November 24, 2011


All this does is show which demographics dominate Twitter.

BET Awards before Osama assassination? This is a moment where I'm in favor of dropping the political correctness. Come on, people. What does this indicate?
posted by stroke_count at 8:27 AM on November 24, 2011


That a lot of people were watching the BET Awards on TV at the same time and thus hit "post" at the same second, and that it had a pre-defined hashtag. Whereas the killing of bin Laden was rumor and word of mouth for a long time, and did not have a pre-defined hashtag.

I mean, it's fine to conclude from this that Twitter users are stupid, which I kind of hope is what you mean by the random stuff about Political Correctness (the alternatives being too horrifying to contemplate), but really a safer conclusion is that this is a bad dataset for answering any questions except "what were the most mass-tweeted hashtags over the course of a single second, by dumb number?"
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:37 AM on November 24, 2011


This says far more about who uses Twitter and what Twitter is used for than about the events themselves.

Truly a case where the medium is the message.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:45 AM on November 24, 2011


the popular kids are always wrong. this applies to all generations, all technologies.
posted by philip-random at 8:54 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't this kind of the process of determining what history is, just sped up a thousand times? Isn't the record of events of what we consider to be history pretty much the aggregate of two thousand years of favoriting and "retweeting" various accounts of various events?

*whoa! I just blew my own mind!*
posted by baniak at 10:18 AM on November 24, 2011


I was going to guess Kim Kardashian's divorce. But Beyonce works just as well.
posted by book 'em dano at 10:28 AM on November 24, 2011


Meanwhile, the most significant event of 2011 based on Heello posts was a lunch a guy in Memphis ate because he posted three times over twenty minutes about it.
posted by Golfhaus at 11:06 AM on November 24, 2011


#1 is probably the one I cared about the least. I'm surprised Steve Jobs dying wasn't one of them. That was the one that affected me the most.
posted by mike3k at 11:20 AM on November 24, 2011


Am I the only one who doesn't give a flying fuck about Beyonce? I truly hate her music & the way she will torture every single note.
posted by mike3k at 11:23 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then the most exciting moments in 2012 and henceforth are all likely to happen in China and India and involve people and events most of us barely know about. China just went past the United States in the number of smartphones sold per quarter
Which obviously isn't going to have much impact on twitter since China blocks it

Anyway, basing this on 'tweet rate' rather then volume is a little weird. It biases events towards those that are the most precise in time. The earthquakes all happened at a specific moment. Sports events, pregnancy announcements, sports events. That kind of thing.
posted by delmoi at 11:45 AM on November 24, 2011


Who is Beyonce?
posted by jcworth at 12:00 PM on November 24, 2011


Sadly, this will only rank as no better than the #10 MOST WORTHLESS statistic of 2011, behind the year-before-the-election Presidential polls, the goosed figures that gave Groupon its big IPO, the MPAA/RIAA statistics on revenue lost due to piracy, America's grossly undercounted 'Unemployment' figures, the 'growth projections' of Twitter and all its cousin 'social media', and several other outrages to be named later.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:55 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Coincidentally, the ten most tweeted events of all time happened to occur 2011.

It's almost as if the number of tweets were related to the number of twitter users.
posted by justkevin at 3:32 PM on November 24, 2011


I really find the term 'baby bump' somewhat disturbing.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on November 24, 2011


I'm surprised that 9/11 had like zero tweets.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:42 PM on November 24, 2011


I really find the term 'baby bump' somewhat disturbing.

Like something you should get lanced.
Except getting lanced is what caused it in the first place.
posted by jake at 9:50 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Make it "per capita". Give us the top tweet topics per active twitter users.
posted by Theta States at 10:21 PM on November 24, 2011


Secret Life of Gravy: Damn right! They should be tweeting about which multi-billion dollar global corporation's telephone operating system is best/sux and trying to win the never-ending 'Who hates George Lucas the Most' competition.
posted by i_cola at 11:28 PM on November 24, 2011


I got a Twitter account acccount ages ago. I played with the website for a while and said to myself "This is pretty useless."

I check back occasionally. It doesn't seem to have improved.

get off my lawn
posted by double block and bleed at 11:59 AM on November 25, 2011


I am grateful for this confirmation that I can continue to completely ignore twitter without missing anything.
posted by whir at 12:00 AM on November 26, 2011


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