Twitter now has 200 million monthly active users, up from 100 million in late 2011. As the number of users in Twitter’s birdcage grows, so does the number of memorable tweets.
Here’s a collection of 50 tweets that made all of us think, laugh, become angry or even cry.
U.S. President Barack Obama Battles for Re-Election
Barack Obama, the platform’s fifth most-followed person, and his administration used Twitter to rally voters and defend his reign as president. And when Clint Eastwood poked fun at Obama with an “Invisible Obama“/empty chair routine, the president fired back with this viral gem.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 31, 2012
Children’s TV series Sesame Street joined the fray after Republican rival Mitt Romney confessed his love for Big Bird but said during a debate he would cut subsidies for PBS.
Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) October 4, 2012
A month later on Election Day, Obama defeated Romney. One of Obama’s victory tweets featuring the president embracing first lady Michelle Obama is now the most retweeted tweet ever.
Four more years. twitter.com/BarackObama/st…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
From the bottom of our hearts, Ann and I thank you for your support, prayers, efforts, vote.We are forever grateful to every one of you.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 10, 2012
… not everyone, particularly business mogul Donald Trump, celebrated Obama’s re-election.
This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
Most-Followed Celebs Share Hair-Trigger Reactions
Justin Bieber claimed the second most retweeted message of the year. His tweet paid tribute to six-year-old Avalanna Routh, whom Bieber “married” before she died from cancer.
RIP Avalanna. i love you
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) September 26, 2012
Rihanna — the fourth most-followed person on Twitter behind only Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry — is known for her hold-nothing-back online presence, as evidenced by this feisty response to CNN TV host Piers Morgan.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 9, 2012
Lady Gaga has more followers than any user. She gave us one of 2012’s candid celebrity tweets, reacting to Carly Rae Jepsen’s nine-week run at number one on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.
@carlyraejepson I SEE you just swooped in and broke my BORN THIS WAY record of the most weeks at #1. DONT GET COMFORTABLE IM COMING FOR YOU
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) July 25, 2012
Emotional Impact of Mass Shootings Unfolds Online
The U.S. experienced a record number of deaths as a result of the year’s 16 mass shootings, some of which incited a flurry of emotional tweets. The July 20 movie theater shooting in Colorado during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises killed 12 people and wounded 58.
Jessica Redfield, a 24-year-old sportscaster, died in the shooting. Her boyfriend, Jay Meloff, and her brother, Jordan Ghawi, shared their grief through a series of tear-jerking tweets.
I shoulda kissed you, goodnight
— Jay Meloff (@Jay_Meloff) July 19, 2012
Well this could easily be the worst night of my life.
— Jordan Ghawi (@JordanGhawi) July 20, 2012
The shootings continued into December. In one, a shooter stormed into a Connecticut elementary school and gunned down 20 children (all ages 6 and 7) and six adults before taking his own life. First grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, was killed while protecting her students. Her younger sister, Carlee, tweeted in disbelief about the tragedy.
Still hasn’t sunk in that my sister is gone. God Vicki come home and just yell at me already.
— Carlee Soto (@ICarlee23) December 16, 2012
Gun control-related tweets reached a fever pitch after the Connecticut shooting.
The way to honor these dead children is to demand strict gun control, free mental health care, and an end to violence as public policy.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 14, 2012
First-Timers Embrace Twitter’s Capabilities
A slew of high-profile religious figures, world leaders, social good advocates, entertainers and athletes joined Twitter in 2012.
Pope Benedict XVI unleashed his first tweet from an iPad (an assistant typed but he pushed send). The Pope maintains seven other Twitter accounts for other languages.
Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012
Psy reveled in his “Gangnam Style” stardom in quirky ways, including with this X-Man.
— PSY (@psy_oppa) October 16, 2012
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron joined Twitter in October, quickly garnering ridicule from users who oppose government policies, but he’s taken the criticism in stride. In December, he congratulated Prince William and Kate Middleton on their pregnancy.
I’m delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby. They will make wonderful parents.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) December 3, 2012
Companies’ Accounts Falter Amid Current Events
When brands’ tweets went awry in 2012, observers’ wrath mounted. An insensitive tweet poking fun at Obama’s late grandmother — posted on KitchenAid’s official U.S. account — caught many people by surprise during the Oct. 3 presidential debate.
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) October 4, 2012
The NRA tweeted this on the day of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.
Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?
— American Rifleman (@NRA_Rifleman) July 20, 2012
CelebBoutique also sent a misguided tweet after the shooting — and then apologized.
The Gap pushed out an unfavorable tweet during Hurricane Sandy.
Athletes Win Some and Lose Some With Their Tweets
The world got its fair share of memorable Olympic tweets before, during and after the London Games this summer. U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones filled her followers’ feed with humor.
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) June 21, 2012
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had to meet with coaches after she sent a tweets criticizing on-air commentary from Brandi Chastian, a journalist and former U.S. Olympian.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) July 28, 2012
British diver Tom Daley responded to a hateful Twitter troll who mentioned his late father.
— Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994) July 30, 2012
A Swiss Olympic soccer player Michel Morganella got booted from the Games for this tweet, which labels South Koreans as “mentally handicapped retards.”
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps became the Olympian with the most medals ever after he earned his 19th in London. He went on to snag numbers 20, 21 and 22 this year, too.
Number 18 and 19 for my career so far!!! Omg I’m speechless right now!lockerz.com/s/230016371
— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) July 31, 2012
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong battled against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which eventually stripped Armstrong of his titles. In October, he removed “7-time Tour de France winner” from his Twitter bio.
— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) June 30, 2012
One of the most viral sports tweets of 2012 belongs to Green Bay Packers player T.J. Lang, who reacted to losing to the Seattle Seahawks on a controversial, last-second Hail Mary pass that confused replacement referees. Regular refs were in a labor dispute with the NFL.
Fuck it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.
— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) September 25, 2012
Gay Marriage Laws Pave Way for Couples’ Happiness
Maine, Maryland and Washington in November became the first three states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Meanwhile, Minnesota rejected a ban on gay marriages. Among the celebratory tweeters, pop star Ricky Martin expressed his excitement.
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) November 7, 2012
It Gets Better project co-founder Dan Savage posted a photo with his husband and son.
We came out, fought back, changed the world. Miles to go. But tonight take a moment to marvel at how far we’ve come. twitter.com/fakedansavage/…
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) November 7, 2012
People Openly Mourn the Deaths of Stars and Friends
Mournful tweets remembered the people lost in 2012, with many of the deaths reaching worldwide trending topic status on Twitter. For example, people’s collective grief following music icon Whitney Houston’s death reached 10 million total tweets, peaking at 73,662 tweets per minute. Fellow pop star Mariah Carey was among the stars who instantly reacted.
Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston.
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) February 12, 2012
Famed 60 Minutes broadcaster Mike Wallace, known for his hard-nosed interviews, died in April. TV journalist Anny Curry quickly tweeted.
Tough questions are being asked in Heaven today.RIP Mike Wallace
— Ann Curry (@AnnCurry) April 8, 2012
Andy Griffith, the beloved actor from popular TV series The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, died in July. Acclaimed film director Ron Howard shared his feelings about Griffith.
Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations shaped my life I’m forever gratefulRIP Andy
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) July 3, 2012
Sherman Hemsley, who most famously played George Jefferson in TV sitcom All in the Family and its spin-off The Jeffersons, also died in July. Hip-hop mogul Russel Simmons’ tweet played off of The Jeffersons theme song.
RIP Sherman Hemsley aka George Jefferson. rest peacefully in the de-luxe apartment in the sky…bit.ly/LLIYft
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) July 24, 2012
Longtime jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck died in December, just one day shy of his 92nd birthday, sending music lovers into their vaults for memories.
Fact: Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out” became the 1st platinum-certified jazz album. Even before, he made the cover of Time: twitter.com/ThatEricAlper/…
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) December 5, 2012
And, Well, This Stuff Happened …
Cher often made very little sense.
I was looking at tweets saw that i really hurt someones feelings ! Im sorry. It was light blue background with white egg shape . Bye
— Cher (@cher) April 23, 2012
An amusing exchange between rap star Drake and T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire chairman of BP Capital, made us chuckle.
The first billion is a helluva lot harder RT @drake: The first million is the hardest.
— T. Boone Pickens (@boonepickens) May 31, 2012
Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker fired back at a critic.
Sir, it looks like you live in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve got 99 problems your ditch ain’t one MT @leedalyire Can u sort the pothole outside?
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 5, 2012
Unlike “fetch” in Mean Girls, “Jeah” caught on thanks to Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
How do u make your dreams come true? By the mirror on the wall!! #jeah
— Ryan Lochte (@ryanlochte) July 14, 2012
And parody accounts ran amock.
The fact that America is more worried about the loss of Twinkies than a manned space program is cause for concern.
— SarcasticRover (@SarcasticRover) November 16, 2012
Hey girl, I just put you in my binder.
— Paul Ryan Gosling (@PaulRyanGosling) October 17, 2012
— Unimpressed McKayla(@UnimpressedMeme) August 14, 2012
im 2 hours old and i already rap sing better than u
— Ivy Blue Carter (@IvyBlueCarter) January 8, 2012
— Royal Fetus (@RoyalFetus) December 3, 2012
Pumpkin spice donuts dipped in a pumpkin spice latte on a plate made of a big hunk of pumpkin, for your husband, a pumpkin wearing glasses.
— The Fake Pinterest (@PinterestFake) September 26, 2012
[This is where a photo description would be if they still showed up on Twitter]
— Text-Only Instagram (@textinstagram) December 11, 2012
Left leg and I talked — everything’s cool. Next Oscars, she gets the slit.
— Angelina Jolie’s Leg (@AngiesRightLeg) February 27, 2012
BREAKING: Underdog Jamaican bobsleigh team loses control and crashes.
— NBC Delayed (@NBCDelayed) August 1, 2012
SHOUTS OUT TO ALL THE BIRDS THAT ARE INCAPABLE OF FLIGHT BUT THEY STILL OUT THERE GRINDIN ANYWAY
— BILL NYE(@BiIINye) September 15, 2012
We’re moving to HTTPS connections so your use of Facebook will be more secure. I don’t want anyone stealing your data before I can sell it.
— Not Mark Zuckerberg (@notzuckerberg) November 20, 2012
URGENT NEED TO FIND DUDE WHO DID OLYMPIC FIREWORKS HOW DID THEY MAKE ROCKETS GO SO FAR CONTACT ME ON MYSPACE KTHXBYE
— KimJongNumberUn (@KimJongNumberUn) August 12, 2012
Ah fuck! Anybody got a spare 54 AA sized batteries? I think Snoop done smoked my charger. #PlugLife
— Hologram Tupac (@HologramTupac) April 16, 2012
Image via Twitter