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Twitter trends in 2016

The biggest media moments from the platform during 2016

There has been plenty of speculation about the future of Twitter during 2016. Once thing is certain though: it remains a very useful social media tool for people working in the media.

MORE: Is Twitter’s silver bullet livestreaming?

New Twitter Australia boss Suzy Nicoletti admitted to Mediaweek just last week it had been a transitional year for the business. She also confided that the social media platform has a strategy for success which it will be working hard on implementing during 2017.

Meanwhile, as measured by Twitter, here are the biggest media moments from the platform during 2016.

The biggest trends of 2016

It was a massive year for politics in Australia and around the world, with the ever present #auspol joined by #ausvotes at the top of the trends chart. Aussies also joined in on the global political conversation around #Brexit and the US #ElectionNight.

But there was still plenty of time for fun on Twitter with Pokemon Go (even though the fad seems to have faded fast), the ARIAs and sporting events like #Rio2016 and the #AusOpen also sparking plenty of conversation from Australian Twitter users throughout 2016.

#auspol The most popular hashtag did big business before, during and after the federal election. Big traffic events included when Malcolm Turnbull stole a slogan from Veep and the arrival in the senate of Pat Dodson.

#ausvotes came into its own in July as the country voted for a new prime minister. Top tweets using the hashtag came from Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten, Charlie Pickering and WA Labor state secretary Patrick Gorman.

#Rio2016 Australian Olympians came away with 29 medals, including eight gold, with support from home and abroad on Twitter.

#QandA ABC’s Monday evening political program Q&A didn’t disappoint its fans in 2016 and remains a case study in using Twitter to engage the audience. Viewers across Australia used the hashtag #QandA to question the panel on the show, and comment on controversial matters discussed throughout the program and in the hours and days following.

Perhaps surprisingly the top Twitter moments were not connected to the Australian election, but to Brexit and David Cameron’s subsequent resignation. Top tweet using the hashtage was from BuzzFeed’s Alice Workman who commented on Q&A guest Brian Cox in one episode.

#ARIAs The Australian music industry’s award night had surprises, tears and laughter – and that was just on the red carpet. The #ARIAs was kept busy for Troye Sivan, Sia, Crowded House and Flume, while an award determined exclusively by Twitter vote drove even more conversation. Most topical moment on social media was the arrival of Crowded House while the top tweets came from Troye Sivan’s mum and multiple winner Flume.

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Most popular Aussie tweeters

When it comes to Twitter’s most-followed Australians, not surprisingly the list is dominated by people with a global following. The platform reports the big news in 2016 is that Australia has a new king of Twitter, with @5SOS guitarist @Luke5SOS overtaking long-term leader @codysimpson as the most followed Aussie. @troyesivan had another massive year and this was reflected on Twitter where he picked up another 1.6 million followers in 2016. In fact, seven of the top 10 most-followed Aussies gained a million or more followers in 2016!

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The Golden Tweet

This year’s Golden Tweet (the most Retweeted tweet) in Australia was about politics. Documentary producer Amelia Paxman (who had less than 350 followers at the time – the numbers are now close to 2,500) published this comment during the US election, which got re-tweeted 130,000 times and spread around the world like wildfire.

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The Year in News & Politics

It was a big year in global news and politics, quickly becoming dominated by elections and referenda in Australia, the UK and the US. People used Twitter to side with their favourites, and discuss the issues at large. The top 10 were evenly split with five Australian hashtags and five from global events – four connected to the US election and the other #Brexit.

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The Year in Sport

It was a major year in sporting tournaments, from the 2016 Rio Olympics to the Euro 2016 football tournament quickly becoming some of the most-tweeted elements. Australian major sporting events also found a place in the top 10 – the Australian Open, State of Origin and grand finals for both the AFL and NRL. There was more interest in the #MelbourneCup this year, as for the first time people from around the world were able to watch the race that stops a nation live on Twitter. Cricket was represented by the Twenty20 version – Big Bash League.

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The Year in TV

Politics and current affairs topped the list with Q&A and Four Corners the leaders. Even though those shows are regularly outrated by some other performers on this list it gives you an idea of the hardcore Twitter audience. Game of Thrones was the biggest TV drama and far and away Foxtel’s #1 series. The Project was the highest-ranked of four commercial FTA shows, with TV’s most-watched program My Kitchen Rules ranked #8 on Twitter.

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The Year in Entertainment

After more than 20 years in the entertainment business, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an #Oscar in 2016 and it ranked #2 on this chart. Although Leo’s win attracted many tweets – peaking at an extraordinary 440,000 per minute – #PokemonGo was able to hold onto top spot. The #PokemonGo craze dominated the world, with users tweeting their accomplishments in the hunt to catch all the Pokemon. 2016 was also the first year Australia competed in the #Eurovision contest, with Aussies tweeting in support of @damiandmusic to win the contest, including SCA radio host
@byroncooke who looked very cool in his Dami Im merch.

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The Year in Music

It was a year of highs and lows for music lovers. The passing of David Bowie early in the year and then a little later the shock death of Prince both earned spots in the music top 10. The #ARIAs ranked #1 and perhaps surprisingly #Soundcloud ranked #3 as a testament to how people using the platform promote their content. Other awards shows and music countdowns also did very well, as did Kesha’s legal battle with her music label.

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Twitter trends in 2016
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