The year 2013 has been huge for Twitter. The company announced and executed its IPO in one of the social Web’s most successful public offerings, and continued tweaking its formula in a (fruitful) effort to attract advertising partners.
But Twitter users were more concerned with celebrities than the company’s successes. Twitter released an overview of the most popular tweets in 2013, breaking down what everyone was talking about each month and compiling a list of so-called “golden tweets.” The short list highlights our love for celebrity news.
The two most popular tweets were sad proclamations about celebrity death. The first came from Glee star Lea Michele, finally commenting about the death of her co-star and boyfriend, Cory Monteith. The second was a confirmation that Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker died in a car accident. And the third was One Direction member Niall Horan announcing his 20th birthday, because teens be tweeting.
Looking through which news stories dominated each month of the year, you get a more expansive idea of what people talk about on Twitter besides the birthdays and deaths of celebrities. In January, the presidential inauguration and a helicopter crash in London were widely discussed, while the Superbowl dominated in February. And in April, Twitter became a major line of communication about the Boston Marathon bombings, with over 27 million tweets on the topic (although some of them were pointless rumor-mongering).
None of the tweets in 2013 bested the most-retweeted tweet of all time, Barack Obama’s 2012 victory tweet. We may have to wait for another U.S. presidential election to see that volume of engagement again (or just wait until Justin Bieber tweets that he’s joining One Direction.)