Top Twitter Trends of 2012, and What They Reveal About America

It’s approaching late December, meaning it’s that time of the year, again. That’s right, time to review the Twitter Trends of Twenty-Twelve (2012)! Try to say that 3 times fast. From politics to food to movies, music, and TV, see how well all our favorite American pop culture topics were blowing up the twittersphere. As Twitter says:

“Trends are the topics for which we see noteworthy spikes in Twitter conversations. The 2012 Trends reveal what captured our attention, rather than what terms were consistently popular.”

With that in mind, off we go! List style.

The Top Trends of 2012, as noted by Twitter:

1. 2012: The Year of the Politics (Duh)


This probably goes without saying, seeing that it was another fun election year full of memorable moments. Interesting to note that the top 5 most trending politics topics were GOP/Romney/Right minded despite youth and social media users largely favoring Democrats and the Obama ground machine. This means that young kids and/or Democrats were tweeting/making fun of Romney. The evidence of social media fun: White People Mourning Romney, Mitt Romney’s Sandy Storm Tips Twitter, Binders Full Of Women, The Killing of Big Bird, and Invisible Obama. By definition, are liberals more likely to do this (political satire, comedy)? There goes the big bad Liberal media again…

2. Nostalgia in TV. Oh, and Live Tweeting


Oh the `90s. Hey Arnold (#4), Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (#9), Boy Meets World (#10). GREAT SHOWS. Maybe this is the older generation of still young social media types holding on to something that the newer generation of kids (kids who have spent their childhood during the era of smart phones and worldwide Facebook) won’t understand. It’s like the ultimate hipster move of “talking about something that you youngins don’t know about!” Live tweeting is now definitely a thing. Pretty Little Liars, Big Brother, and American Idol hold testament to that. Also, whatever happened to black family comedies? Is that not PC anymore? Is the golden era of black protagonist shows over?

3. Sports Sports Sports Sports Sports


Football is still #1. Well maybe it’s just because of the spike of NFL activity on Sunday causing the trend… Nah. It’s just ‘cause it’s football and ‘cause this is America. With stories like RGIII, Andrew Luck, Peyton’s comeback, and Adrian Peterson rushing like a mad man with his new bionic knees, why wouldn’t you be tweeting!? Nascar (#2)? Woah did not see this happening. Jeremy Lin (#6), DEFINITELY did not see him coming on the scene. Asian heartthrob and advertising dream (Handsome, China-marketable, deeply Christian, Harvard educated) Jeremy Lin was the feel good story of early 2012. From the coach to the court, his story reminded us to always chase our dreams.

4. All the Rest! (The Techz, The Foods, The Movies, and the News)


The Dark Knight Rises only #6!? The $1.081 billion box office hit most likely took a major social media hit following the Aurora, Co. shooting. But really? Think Like A Man at #1? I guess that makes total sense. Oh the irony of tweeting….

Hip-Hop clearly dominates, as all the top trends are Hip-Hop related. Nicki Minaj (#4), Chris Brown (#7), and Rick Ross (#1) had good years.

The fast food chains still rule the world! It’s incredible. Maybe those marketing campaigns really do work. Ihop (#1), Starbucks (#2), McDonalds (#4), Taco Bell (#7), and Burger King (#9), from early morning to late night food.

From these trends, technology still actually rules the world. New popular programs like Pinterest, Skype, and Instagram got more traffic as well.

Even Syria made it to #1 on Twitter. It’s actually quite fascinating to see social media integrating into our every experience with news. On the other hand, there is possibly more traffic on Twitter about Syria than there is in the State Department or White House about it.

Asia and the Middle East are still regions of interest, reflecting the Obama administration’s priorities as well. Wait, but where’s Africa? South America? I wonder what rankings #11-20 would show.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Robin Ye

Second-Year Student at The University of Chicago. Originally from Portland, Oregon. Politics is my jam. I love, in no particular order: cats, The Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Timbers, SPORTS!!, The West Wing, laughing, the great outdoors, and eating. Lots of eating. I may not be interesting, but I'm interested.

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