Twitter is a truly magical place. It is where we go to talk about our day, voice our opinions, get news, look at dogs, and procrastinate writing this article (guilty!). It’s a place where an NHL team mascot can become the symbol of Antifa movement, where people talk about grape surgery and eat Tide Pods.
However, despite all the weird stuff, Twitter is a good indicator of what’s happening in our society. The sole fact that the US president announces major political changes on Twitter shows how essential this platform has become in the English-speaking world. Compared to Facebook and Instagram, Twitter’s design encourages things to go viral. It is also a much better platform for engaging with people of different backgrounds, worldviews, and opinions. And it’s the perfect place for seeing what topics generate the most discussion. Smart marketers know this and use the easy engagement quality to their advantage — Wendy's Twitter strategy is a good example, and there were many more in 2018.
Every year Twitter shares its annual round-up of the most popular topics, trends, hashtags, and people, providing an insight into the Twitter zeitgeist. 2018 is no different.
First off, speaking about popular topics - the most discussed movements of 2018 were as follows:
This probably wasn’t a surprise to anyone since these topics have been discussed in traditional media and in the kitchens as much as on Twitter. What’s curious, however, is how some of these movements such as #MarchForOurLives used Twitter for organizing. Some of these were even born out of Twitter hashtags, which once again shows how social media can become a tool of social change.
Moving away from politics to art and entertainment. According to Twitter, most discussed movies of 2018 were:
And most discussed celebrities:
By the way, BTS were the main driver of Twitter engagement in general, so maybe you should consider getting into K-pop if you want to go viral.
But the data shared by Twitter is not the only way to get nostalgic and reminiscent about 2018. As Twitter revealed, more than 125 million hashtags were shared and many of them were dedicated to major world events. So let’s go down this #memorylane and look through the hashtags that defined this year. Buckle up folks, it’s the Twitter highlights of 2018.
Winter Olympics 2018 #pyeongchang2018
A brief survey among my colleagues proved that not that many people feel that Olympics indeed happened this year. It's been a long one, what can I say. While many of you remember the glorious victories of Jorien ter Mors, Shaun White, Tessa Virtue, and Scott Moir, Twitter chose its heroes much more randomly.
One of the most memorable Olympics moments on Twitter was the story of Red Gerard who almost overslept his gold medal run watching Netflix and then cursed on national television. He immediately became a relatable role model for all the binge-watchers on Twitter.
As for Kim, she did not finish her breakfast sandwich the morning of her event, tweeting she was “hangry” (a combination of hungry and angry) minutes before her gold medal performance.
According to Twitter, Kim had 15,000 followers before the tweet, and 100,000 new followers after it.
Oscars 2017 #Moonlight vs #Lalaland
Oscars always gather social media buzz, and this year was no exception. In 2017, everything was going as smooth (and boring) as ever: we had emotional speeches, we had Trump jokes, and Nicole Kidman’s weird clapping. But the grand final of the show shook everyone off their seats.
If you did your best to avoid all the Oscar shenanigans, here’s what happened: the envelopes for Best Picture and Best Actress got mixed up somehow and Warren Beatty and Fae Donoway announced La La Land as the winner of Best Film before anyone realized that there was a mistake. It resulted in an awkward fumble on stage and the viral meme, which took over Twitter for a few days.
#WorldCup2018 and #ItsComingHome
Unlike Winter Olympics, everyone remembers FIFA World Cup. To be fair, it took place much more recently, but it also was a much more unexpected turn of events (up until the final which we tried to predict). There were some shocking exits and surprising successes, inspiring underdog stories and moments of utter defeat.
However, the most prevalent Twitter moment of World Cup 2018 was #ItsComingHome. Of course, other teams also had their fans hashtagging away, but nothing was as powerful and as popular as the genuine hope the English had for the win. If anything could unite the divided country, it would be the magnificent legs of Harry Kane.
Unfortunately, the miracle didn’t happen, and the French team has the trophy, but maybe it will eventually come home in four years.
US Midterms Elections #RedWave vs #BlueWave
In some countries such as the USA, India, and Britain, Twitter has become the platform where politics happens. This year, we’ve seen a lot of hashtags based around political events, #G20, #KimTrump meeting, #GiletJaunes and so on.
However, the biggest event on social media was the Midterms. Twitter even embedded a countdown to see how many days were left till the election right from the app. People took to Twitter to encourage others to vote with #GoVote, expressed their support to either party, and shared post-voting selfies with #IVoted.
Once the results were out, people of Twitter didn’t hesitate to share their opinion. They celebrated the firsts:
And congratulated the winners:
Twitter’s senior public policy manager Bridget Coyne said that this had been the most-tweeted-about U.S. midterm election to date.
All in all, this year had its ups and downs, which were both reflected on Twitter. We’re reminded that social media is not some alternative universe, which exists in a vacuum and doesn’t affect “real” world. Personally, I’m excited to see what the upcoming year has in store for us, from weird memes to new social movements.