16 Dec 2012

Obama photo was top tweet this year

7:59 am on 16 December 2012

An election victory message from Barack Obama, with a photo of him hugging his wife, was the world's most re-tweeted message this year.

Twitter this week issued its annual review of its most popular messages worldwide.

Usain Bolt's London 200m gold medal-winning sprint at the Olympics took only 19.32 seconds. In that short time, 80,000 tweets per minute were being posted from users around the world.

But the ABC reports it was far from the biggest Olympics spike on the social media website.

Bolt was overtaken by the Spice Girls, whose performance at the closing ceremony was accompanied by more than 116,000 tweets per minute.

US politics, spurred by November's presidential election, also generated a huge amount of tweets.

Mr Obama's tweet "Four more years" became the most re-tweeted tweet in history with more than 810,000 tweets from users in more than 200 countries.

Discussions about the first presidential debate saw nearly 330,000 tweets per minute flooding onto the internet.

Entertainment also popular

Entertainment was also a popular topic. British boy band One Direction won an MTV award for most shareable video after their track What Makes You Beautiful garnered 52 million tweet votes.

Ten million tweets flowed when news broke that Whitney Houston had died.

The landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars was tweeted live and movie director James Cameron sent a tweet from 10km below the surface of the sea.

An astronaut on the International Space Station tweeted a photo of Superstorm Sandy as it smashed into the east coast of America.

"They're a new kind of media company that relies on our social networks and on us voluntarily sharing and commenting on information rather than just receiving it, like in a broadcast model,'' said Queensland University of Technology internet and social media researcher Jean Burgess.

"Just like YouTube has changed over the past few years from being focused purely on amateur content to being a more mainstream media company, Twitter's trying to do the same thing," she said.