Top Tweets of 2011: Predictable vs Surprise

Top tweets of 2011

With Saint Nicolas behind us, the final stretch to Christmas and the New Year is in sight. It’s the time of year where we review all that’s happened in the past year. For this reason, Twitter is publishing an overview of their most populair stories, topics and hashtags.

Tweets per second

So what were the top tweets of 2011, expressed in tweets per second.

  1. 8.868: MTV Video Music Awards (Aug 28)
  2. 7.671: Troy Davis executed (Sep 20)
  3. 7.196: End of FIFA Women’s World Cup (Jul 17)
  4. 7.166: Brazil eliminated from the Copa America (Jul 17)
  5. 7.064: Steve Jobs resigns (Aug 25)
  6. 6.939: New  Years (Jan 1)
  7. 6.436: BET Awards (Jun 27)
  8. 6.303: UEFA Champions League (May 28)
  9. 6.049: Steve Jobs passes away (Oct 6)
  10. 5.531: NBA Finals (Jun 13)
  11. 5.530: Japanese earthquake and tsunami (Mar 11)
  12. 5.449: East Coast earthquake (Aug 23)
  13. 5.106: Raid on Osama bin Laden (May 2)
  14. 4.995: Home Run Derby (Jul 11)
  15. 4.064: Superbowl (Feb 6)
  16. 3.966: UK Royal Wedding (Apr 29)

Predictable vs Surprise

A closer look at these topics shows us which event receive the most attention.

  • Sports is definitely number 1 with footbal, basketball, baseball and American football as most commented topics.
  • Planned social events such as the royal wedding in the UK, and award shows by MTV and BET receive a lot of attention.
  • Global disasters like earthquakes and the tsunami in Japan generated a lot of instant chatter.
  • Political events such as the executions of Osama bin Laden (global) and Troy Davis (local).
  • Steve Jobs, first his resignation and then later his passing.

Some of these high-volume topics are relatively predictible (sports finals, social events) while a lot of others come out of nowhere. For 2012 it’s a pretty safe bet the US elections will receive a fair share of predictable attention. When it comes to the unpredictable events, let’s just hope there won’t be too much disasters in 2012.

Stijn Vogels


  1. Great, there are 3 football related events in the Top Tweets list of 2011. via @cleverwood #SocialFoot #digisports

  2. @Twitter shared their topics that received the most attention in #2011. Do you remember tweeting about any of these?

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