Here's what kept us chatting 140 characters at a time in 2015
Social media behemoth Twitter is a more ubiquitous part of our daily lives than ever, having been at the forefront of countless culturally, socially and historically memorable occasions over the past 12 months.
Following the release of the company's annual year-in-review statistics, examining the top trends, tweets and other content coming from users around the nation over the past 12 months — and the results are eye-opening indeed.
Not only were the top four hashtag trends of the year — #AusPol, #QandA, #LibSpill and #RefugeesWelcome — all related to civics, governance and citizenship, but even non-politics-specific lists couldn't escape the influence; the HeForShe-organised #GetFree tour made it onto the list of top music trends for the year, while #QandA demolished all the competition in TV land as the nation's most-tweeted-about show.
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Sure, we might have talked ourselves blue in the face over everyone from Gang Of Youths and Tame Impala to Courtney Barnett and "the like", but there's no denying the real power on Twitter is wielded by the young'uns; #5SOS take the title for #1 music trend, followed closely by #OneDirection. #ARIAs managed a surprisingly high entry point, given its late arrival on the calendar, just ahead of nascent youth-focused champs #AmplifyLIVE. The aforementioned #GetFree campaign clocked in at #5, just ahead of #NP (or "now playing"), while things get a little more generic on the way to the bottom, with #SoundCloud grabbing #7 just ahead of #Music (#8), #iTunes (#9) and #Rock (#10).
Taylor Swift (taylorswift13) gained 20 million followers this year, while Katy Perry (@katyperry) picked up an additional 18 mil. Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) enjoyed growth of 14 million follwers, while Rihanna (@rihanna) also picked up the same amount of new faces. Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) closes out the top five with an additional 13 million followers on this time last year. Meanwhile, the boys of One Direction (present and former) cleaned up the Most Retweeted Music Tweets in 2015 field, with the #1 to #5 placings going to Harry Styles (@Harry_Styles), Zayn Malik (@zaynmalik), Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne), Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) and Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) respectively.
Who'da thunk it? Yes, the #NRL can pat itself on the back for provoking more thoughtful(?) discussion than its #AFL counterpart, though only by one place. The Cricket World Cup (#CWC15) came in third, while the NRL nabs a second entry in the top three with supporters' campaign #ProudToBeABulldog. Interest also ran high in the #Ashes (#5), Rugby World Cup (#RWC15, #6), #V8SC (#7), #AusOpen (#8), #Origin (NRL again, #9), and the AFC Asian Cup (#AC2015, #10).
Reality TV, that is. Q&A aside — and making exceptions for both Four Corners (#4Corners, #7) and Wide World Of Sports (#WWOS, #10) — our entire top-10 most-tweeted-about TV shows are of the genre, which says an incredible amount both about our networks' programming choices and our citizenry's viewing habits, and none of it is good. #MKR was the most vocally supported contender after Q&A, coming in at #2, while #Eurovision managed an impressive #3 off the back of Australia's first appearance at the competition, entering ahead of #MasterChefAU (#4), #TheBachelorAU (#5), #TheBlock (#6), #ImACelebrityAU (#8) and #BacheloretteAU (#9). Yeesh.
On a global scale, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Twitterverse spoke up in times of tumult around the world, with #JeSuisParis comfortably assuming a position as the most-tweeted-about influential moment of the year, with the top five rounded out by #BlackLivesMatter, #MarriageEquality, #RefugeesWelcome and #IStandWithAhmed, respectively. Things get a little less altruistic in the second half, where interest in national elections around the planet claimed #6, ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup (#FIFAWWC, #7), #PlutoFlyby (#8), #TheDress (#9) and the moment that @Caitlyn_Jenner joined Twitter.
Globally, our top pastime of 2015 was, simply, to #Love. But we also care about getting in touch with our creative, spiritual and silly sides, as #Art (#2), #Fashion (#3), #Photography (#4), #Travel (#6) and #Selfie (#7) all make the cut. Abbreviations are big this year, too, as #TFW ("That face when...", #5), #TBT ("Throwback Thursday", #8) and #LOL (you know what it means, #9) fill out the list, punctuated at #10 by the ever-reliable, always delicious #Food.
Michael Clifford (@Michael5SOS), of 5 Seconds Of Summer, took out the "Australian Golden Tweet" — the most retweeted tweet from an Australian — for a selfie following his all-too-close brush with a pyrotechnics display during a concert in London. It has been retweeted 162,410 times to date.
Cody Simpson (@codysimpson) is the most-followed Australian on Twitter, with more than 7.5 million followers to his name. However, 5SOS' Luke Hemmings (@Luke5SOS) isn't far off, at 6.63 million, while Hugh Jackman (@realhughjackman) takes the bronze with 6.02 million followers.
Iggy Azalea still rates pretty highly Down Under, despite basically disowning us — she's the fourth-most-followed Aussie on Twitter, with 5.98 million followers, just ahead of additional 5SOSers Calum Hood (@Calum5SOS, 5.91 million) and Michael Clifford (5.71 million).
Troye Sivan (@troyesivan) is also on the upswing, now outranking both Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne, 2.44 million) and Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson, 2.34 million) with 3.13 million followers.
See a full infographic of the year from Twitter below.