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2011 in news breaking Tweets

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Author of new book A Twitter Year, Kate Bussman charts the biggest tweets of the last 12 months exclusively for Stylist.

Picture credits: Rex Features

Wikileaks: 14 December 2010

@Wikileaks: █████ ████ everything ███ █████ is█████ ████ fine ████ ███ ██████ love █████ █ your █ ████ government

When Wikileaks published 250,000 secret diplomatic cables, creative minds on Twitter had a field day. This amusingly censored message was retweeted well over 7,000 times.

Arab Spring: 15 January 2011

@Alya1989262: http://on.fb.me/fbojwt Over 16000 of use are taking to the streets on #jan25! Join us: http://on.fb.me/fqosdi #egypt #tunisia #revolution

Sent by a 21-year-old student, this is the first recorded use of the hashtag #jan25, which became the rallying cry for the Egyptian revolution, long after the date of that first protest passed.

The Oscars: 27 February

@TheOnion: How rude - not a single character from Toy Story 3 bothered to show up. #Oscars

The most retweeted message from this year's ratings disaster of an Oscar's, presented by Anne Hathaway and James Franco, was one of its funnier moments:

Japanese Earthquake: 13 March

@NAMICOAOTO: 父が明日、福島原発の応援に派遣さ れます。半年後定年を迎える父が自ら志願したと聞き、涙が出そうになりました 今の対応次第で原発の未来 が変わる。使 命感を持っていく。」家では頼りなく感 じる父ですが、私は今日程誇りに思ったことはありませ ん。無事の帰宅を祈ります。#JISHIN

A 27-year-old woman tweeted: "My father is heading off to the Fukishima plant. I almost burst into tears when I learned my dad, who's about to retire, had volunteered to help...#earthquake."

Royal Wedding: 29 April

@ClarenceHouse: The Archbishop: 'I pronounce that they be man and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost #RW2011

Kate and William announced their engagement on Twitter, so why would anyone be surprised that the official feed for the Prince of Wales would live-tweet the wedding?

Bin Laden killed: 2 May

@ReallyVirtual: Helicoptor hovering above Abbottabad at 1am (is a rare event)

IT consultant Sohaib Athar didn’t realise it at the time but he was, in fact, live-tweeting the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Seven hours later, news of Bin Laden’s death was released.

Unthinking Tweeting: 20 June

@ebertchicago: Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive.

US film critic Roger Ebert tweeted rashly about Jackass star, Ryan Dunn, who died in a high speed car crash. But clearly many agreed with Ebert: he gained 70,000 followers in a day.

Amy Winehouse's death: 24 July

@ladygaga: Amy changed pop music forever. I remember knowing there was hope, and feeling not alone because of her. She lived jazz, she lived the blues.

Twitter was overcome with sadness when Amy Winehouse was revealed to have died. With 16 million followers, this tribute by Gaga was retweeted over 18,000 times:

London Riots: 9 August

@riotcleanup: Let's ask why tomorrow, first step is to show love to our communities who need help but a much bigger problem exists post cleanup.

Set up by musician Sam Duckworth in the wake of the London riots, this account helped inspire tens of thousands of people to clear up their own communities.

9/11 Hoax: 10 September

@NBCNews: Breaking news! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops.

On the eve of 9/11, “hacktivists” calling themselves ‘The Script Kiddies’ broke into NBC’s news feed and posted a fake alert. The tweet was quickly discredited and condemned by New Yorkers.

Turkey Earthquake: 23 October

@erhan_celikk: Evini depremzedelere açmak isteyenler haberhan@hotmail.com adresine bilgilerini mail atabilir! #evimevindirvan

“If you can spare a room in your house for earthquake victims, contact haberhan@hotmail.com with your details #MyHouseIsYours.” An astonishing 17,000 replied with a yes.

Occupy Wall Street: 15 November

@JoshHarkinson: All around me, protesters were being pepper sprayed and zip cuffed

NYPD tried to keep the media away when they cleared the camp in Lower Manhattan. Thanks to Twitter, reports such as one this alleging brutality instantly spread around the world.

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