Chicken nuggets, Trump, and natural disasters among Twitter’s top 2017 trends

So how was 2017? Full of free chicken nuggets, presidents, and disasters, if you ask Twitter. Twitter recently shared its list of the top tweets, retreats, handles, celebrities, world leaders, live-streams, and more for the 2017 year in review. While the list has a few heart-warming tweets — like the guy who got free chicken nuggets for a year for getting three million re-tweets and Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement — tweets in the wake of disasters and political tweets took up a big portion of the discussion on the social media platform over the last year.

Starting on that positive note — the most re-tweeted post of the year was from Carter Wilkerson after he asked Wendy’s how many retweets he’d need to get to win a year of free chicken nuggets. The fast-food chain said 18 million, but they still gave him the free “nuggs” for effort after exceeding 3.6 million.

The most liked tweet went to former President Barack Obama’s tweet of a Nelson Mandela quote after the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Twitter took on a lot of criticism later in the year for giving the organizer of that rally verified status). The tweet wasn’t just popular for 2017 — it became the most liked tweet yet with over 4.6 million likes and 1.7 million re-tweets.

Politics also played a major role in the platform’s list of the top ten “activism hashtags,” with half of the list related to U.S. President Donald Trump, who is also unsurprisingly the most tweeted politician given his tendency to use the platform more than previous leaders. #Resist and #Resistance combined took the number one slot while supporters took the second spot for #MakeAmericaGreatAgain and the phrase’s abbreviation. #ImpeachTrump and #TrumpTrain took the third and fourth spots while #NotMyPresident was number six. President Trump’s inauguration was the most viewed live-stream on Twitter this year, and in the platform’s entire history.

#BlackLivesMatter made the hashtag list for the second year, along with #NoDAPL. Meanwhile, #TakeAKnee and #BoycottNFL were the ninth and tenth most-used activism hashtags. While Twitter didn’t share numbers, #MeToo did not make the list, although it is a tag with over 1.8 million tweets that was just part of Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

Twitter’s short-and-sweet instant nature also lends itself to commentary on sports and entertainment. The Miss Universe telecast was the most tweeted hour of the year, while the ending to Super Bowl LI was the most tweeted moment. The 2017 Billboard Music Awards also had a large global response, in part due to South Korean boy band BTS, which was also the platform’s most-tweeted celebrity and most tweeted musician globally.

Game of Thrones was the platform’s U.S. TV show with the most tweets, while Stranger Things was the most tweeted for streaming TV. Wonder Woman was the top movie based on tweet volume.

The most popular Twitter posts also had some overlap with the 2017 trends on other social networks. #WomensMarch was the fifth most popular activism hashtag in 2017, while the event also qualified as Facebook’s largest event of the year. A Hurricane Harvey tweet pledging $.15 for every retweet from Penn State IFC was the second most re-tweeted post of the year with 1.6 million, while on Facebook the natural disaster sparked the network’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Ariana Grande’s tweet after the Las Vegas concert shooting was the fourth most re-tweeted globally, while a benefit concert for the same tragedy was Facebook’s most viewed live broadcast.

Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement was the second most-shared moment on Twitter this year. In related news, her maternity photo was Instagram’s most-liked photo ever.

While some of the top tweets suggest a rough year for Twitter users, 2017 tossed the platform several challenges as well. #WomenBoycottTwitter sparked the company to take another look at preventing harassment on the platform, while the platform also added new regulations for political ads after presenting data on Russian interference in the U.S. election to Congress. The year wasn’t all bad for new features though — Twitter broke its norm and doubled the character limit for tweets, and also launched the Explore tab.


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