Remember when everyone was screaming for 2016 to just end already? Well, it did. And 2017 managed to be even more horrific. Twitter has essentially verified that fact with its end of the year roundup of the most popular tweets, accounts, and hashtags. Appreciate them now, because next year is just going to be worse.
The biggest surprise for most people will be that the list that of the 10 “Most-Retweeted Tweets” shared with news outlets was missing Twitter’s unofficial mascot, Donald Trump. And because everything in 2017 has to be about one political side attacking another, Twitter is currently filled with users celebrating the delicious schadenfreude of Barack Obama making the list of most retweeted posts twice, while Trump is nowhere to be found. Ah, but you only have to read between the lines to see that the president’s spirit haunts the list from top to bottom.
Well, not the very top. The most retweeted tweet of the year went to the guy who managed to convince everyone to help him advertise for Wendy’s by attempting to get 18 million retweets in exchange for free chicken nuggets. The world played along, he only got 3.6 million retweets, but Wendy’s still gave him the nuggets, and this is what passed as a heartwarming story in 2017.
Coming in at number two was Obama’s tweet that featured him saying hello to some kids looking out from a house, accompanied by a quote from Nelson Mandela expressing the belief that people must be taught to hate, “for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” It’s a classy post that reminded the world how a president traditionally acts following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia when Nazis held a torch rally and killed a counter-protester. As people longed for a president who does not equate Nazis with “very fine people,” the tweet became the most liked of all time.
For the most part, this was the common theme among the most popular tweets this year: Something tragic occurred and people looked for a little bit of hope or commiseration or help. Other top tweets included Obama’s parting words as he left the White House, the Detroit Lions’ Sam Martin calling to help the people of Houston who had their lives turned upside down by the flood, Ariana Grande expressing her dismay following a massacre at one of her concerts, and a man urging the world to share the phone number for a suicide hotline.
Trump did come out on top in the category “Most-Tweeted-About Elected Leaders.” The liberal rallying cry #Resist beat out Trump supporters beloved #MAGA for “Most-Tweeted-About Activism Hashtags.” Running down that list, the winners are all related to Trump in some way. It’s clear that the right and left were in a heated game to one-up each others’ hashtags.
When it comes to popular TV shows and movies, I can’t help but feel that many of them, like Wonder Woman or 13 Reasons Why, made the list because of some sort of regrettable culture war.
The list of “Most-Tweeted-About Celebrities” isn’t that bad. With the exception of Justin Bieber, I don’t know who any of the winners are. It’s nice. They could be horrible people, and I don’t have a clue. They could be great, and I’ll be just fine never knowing. And Beebs hanging in there is kind of comforting in some way.
The list of “Most-Shared Twitter Moments” in the US was topped by “NASA found 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star.” Thank you, NASA, for always bringing us something great.
Here’s a selection of Twitter’s biggest tweets, people, and hashtags. Let’s all try to make this thing less depressing next year.
Most-Retweeted Tweets (Global):
Most-Tweeted Activism Hashtags (US):
Most-Tweeted-About Elected World Leaders (Global):
- Donald Trump
- Narendra Modi
- Nicolás Maduro
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
- Emmanuel Macron
- Enrique Peña Nieto
- Mauricio Macri
- Theresa May
- Juan Manuel Santos
- Joko Widodo
Most-Tweeted-About Celebrities (Global):
- Camila Cabello
- Justin Bieber
- Maine Mendoza
- Niall Horan
- Harry Styles
- Ethan Dolan
- Monsta X
- Grayson Dolan
Most-Tweeted-About TV Shows (US):
- Game of Thrones
- Stranger Things
- Big Brother
- 13 Reasons Why
- Saturday Night Live
Most-Tweeted-About Streaming TV shows (US):
- Stranger Things
- 13 Reasons Why
- Orange Is the New Black
- House of Cards
Most-Tweeted-About Movies (US):
- Wonder Woman
- La La Land
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Justice League
Most-Shared Twitter Moments (US):
- NASA found seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star
- Beyoncé is pregnant again!
- There’s a lunar triple threat hitting the skies 🌑 🌕
- Thousands gather for Women’s March on Washington
- High school lets seniors go in costume for their IDs and it’s fantastic