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2011: The year in tweets

It’s that time of year again when every media organisation in the known universe looks back on the year that was. We like to do things a little differently at ‘The Message’, and because we recognise and embrace the fact that content delivery is changing, we’ve decided to see 2011 through the eyes of the twitterati.

From the bizarre (Charlie Sheen) to the brazen (Charlie Sheen again), Twitter has been at the forefront of disseminating news and information in the brave new world of content providers. Its been a year of tragedy and heartache from Queensland to New Zealand and Japan, a year of globally significant milestones from a royal wedding to the death of the world’s most-wanted man, and a year of social upheavals from the Middle East and Russia to Kim Kardashian.

Throughout it all, social media users have been watching, analysing, commenting, praising, helping and mocking – in 140 characters or less. Through their eyes, we see that online and digital content has become about far more than just delivering a message, it’s about being part of that message.

Which is why ‘The Message’ is proud to bring you: The Year in Tweets…

The Message proudly brings you the content review of the year – as seen by social media content providers around the world

2011 was a big year for Twitter. Not only did it celebrate the five-year anniversary of the first ever tweet, but it also played host to some pretty extraordinary content – from the bizarre to the world-changing and the tragic to the joyful.

So check out what happened in 2011 – in tweets!

Queensland floods

While there were hundreds of thousands of heartwarming – and heartbreaking – tweets to come out of the Queensland floods, this one sums up the community spirit that helped get the state back on its feet at the start of the year:

@qldfloodsorg: If you can’t help out with physical labour over the coming weeks maybe you can help later on with a cuppa and a chat with survivors.

Christchurch earthquake

This tweet, sent moments after February’s Christchurch earthquake, describes the chaos and terror that was beginning to dawn on residents of the city. The magnitude 6.3 quake followed the 7.1-force shock that hit the NZ city five months earlier. The February quake was the second-deadliest in New Zealand’s history, killing 181 people and injuring hundreds more:

PolarBearFarm: My god this is bad #eqnz cathedral is down. People stuck in Forsyth Barr building, breaking windows, liquifaction everywhere.

Charlie Sheen gets content savvy

It was the year of weird for Charlie Sheen, who broke records as the person to reach one million Twitter followers in the shortest time – less than 24 hours. His first tweet lent credence to the idea that he was, in fact, driving the publicity train (rather than being dragged along underneath it), when he created the hashtag that remains synonymous with him. And don’t even get us started on #tigerblood

 

Japanese earthquake and tsunami

The Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami was one of the most devastating in history. Live footage, combined with the overwhelming tweet-traffic that was coming out of the region, brought it home to people all over the world. Japanese interpreter Aya Watanabe was so touched by some of the tweets and stories she heard coming out of the tragedy that she began to translate and tweet them to an English audience. The following tweet illustrates the strength, pride and courage that the Japanese people showed during this time:

‘Called my Mom to let her know I survived the quakes. She lives in Kagoshima, on Kyushu Island, a thousand miles south of Tohoku. Thought she was worried about me and wanted to calm her down. Instead of tears, what I got from her was a pep talk. “Know, with all your heart, the meaning of your being where you are, at this timing and age in your life. Do the best you can to serve others.” Mother, I am proud to be your son. I will live through all this.” – Translated by Aya Watanabe

Royal Wedding

The marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton captured many hearts and Twitter feeds for reasons that eluded us (at least, until Pippa Middleton’s bottom is taken into consideration). Even so, it was one of the most-watched television events in history – and one that made temporary monarchists of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

@SteveSkipper: Do I care about William & Kate, NO. The wedding, NO. The dress, NO. The cake, NO. Am I going to watch tomorrow? Absolutely!

Osama bin Laden’s death

Not only was Osama bin Laden’s death massive news throughout the world, but it was a tweet from a virtual nobody that broke the news to the masses. Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for ex-US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, tweeted the following at roughly 10pm on 2 May. It wasn’t until 11.30pm that President Obama held a press conference to announce the news – a move many believe was rushed by Urbahn’s thunder-stealing announcement.

Casey Anthony trial

The Casey Anthony trial transfixed America (and much of the world) with the sordid allegations that the 23-year-old mother murdered her toddler daughter and then headed out to celebrate with friends. When Anthony was acquitted of murder (but convicted of lying to police), social media platforms exploded with shock and outrage:

Steve Jobs’ death

You know you’ve had an impact on the world when your death actually ‘breaks’ Twitter. The social media platform was over capacity for a few hours after the news of Steve Jobs’ death was reported. In fact, the Apple visionary’s death and subsequent tributes managed to smash all kinds of online records out of the park, which is fitting for the way Jobs lived his life.

Colonel Gadaffi’s death

The news of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi’s death – along with a shockingly graphic video – spread like wildfire across Twitter. Incidentally, so did a variety of differing opinions on how to spell his name, something no twitter user seemed completely sure about.

Kim Kardashian’s marriage and divorce

Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries (a union that bagged her a nifty $17.9 million) dissolved in divorce to the resounding sound of the twitterati cleverly making cracks at her expense. The hashtag: #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage was soon trending worldwide and was all the motivation people needed to create some truly snort-worthy 140-character roasts.

Qantas grounding

After industrial action in October resulted in the entire Qantas fleet being grounded to force the striking workers back to work, the airline obviously thought it was in need of a bit of social media love…

Sadly, from a Qantas PR perspective, it failed miserably. Responses included the very witty: @AMonkeyInSilk: “#QantasLuxury Being in charge of Virgin Australia PR and knowing that Qantas is doing your job for you” to the blatantly unimpressed: @sunnybankian: “#QantasLuxury is knowing a $30 prize pack probably won’t buy off the Australian public”.

Russian upheaval

In a situation that is still unfolding, Russia is experiencing its biggest protests and revolutions in 20 years. As with as the popular uprisings in the Middle East, Twitter is doing its bit to spread the anti-government message:

 

 

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