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2011 in tweets

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2011 has been a tumultuous year, with world-changing events such as the Arab Spring and tsunami in Japan shaking the international community to its core. Never has Twitter played such a central part in the reporting and driving of these events in real time; whether it was the first flickers of resistance and call to action in the Libyan uprising or a heartening campaign to clean up London after the August riots. Events such as the women's football world cup and Beyonce's pregnancy revelation - though less fundamental - also helped set new records for the most amount of tweets sent per second. Come see how world events imploded onto the Twittersphere with a look at 2011 in tweets, below...

All pictures featured are from Twitpics, unless otherwise stated

  • 2011 in tweets: January

    Tunisia uprising

    @hadeelalsh: Tear gas in downtown #tunisia

    The extraordinary events of the Arab Spring were in large part propelled by social media, with tweets calling people to protests sewing the seeds of resistance. The Tunisian revolution was the first example of this, with widespread protests and unrest leading to the eventual ousting of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

  • 2011 in tweets: January

    Tunisia uprising

    @SGardinier Brave Tunisians on the front of Le Monde this morning Freedom for All the Prisoners #SidiBouzid

  • 2011 in tweets: January - February

    Revolution in Egypt

    @abo_mazen صورة لميدان التحرير في القاهرة قبل قليل #Egypt #Jan25 #25Jan (roughly translated as: an image of the square shortly before liberation in Cairo)

    The Egypian uprising was in part inspired by events in Tunisia and again drew its strength from Twitter and other social media outlets (including YouTube). #Jan25 became one of the most popular hashtags of this year after it was used to mobilise thousands of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The revolution ended the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

  • 2011 in tweets: January - February

    Revolution in Egypt

    @DavidMuirABC IMAGE from space on this day of history in #Tahrir Square

  • 2011 in tweets: January - February

    Revolution in Egypt

    @christineestima MOST BEAUTIFUL SUBVERSIVE ACT OF PROTEST! An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer #Egypt

  • 2011 in tweets: March

    Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

    @uforom Huge earthquake in Tokyo. I'm ok.

    Twitter logged every second of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which killed over 15,000 and left many more without homes or electricity - not to mention the radiation crisis at Fukushima power plant.

  • 2011 in tweets: March

    Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

    @ProducerMatthew Photo: Sendai Airport completely flooded following #tsunami in #japan

  • 2011 in tweets: March

    Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

    @_mego 津波来た直後。自宅2から撮影。未だに冠水していて取り残されています!救助お願いします!!宮城県亘理郡亘理町荒浜地区です!

    (a photo of the Miyagi Prefecture, one of the worst-hit areas in Japan, in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami)

  • 2011 in tweets: March

    Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

    @DalaiLama HHDL comforts a young boy who lost his parents to the tsunami last March in Ishinomaki, Japan, on November 5th.

  • 2011 in tweets: April

    Royal wedding

    @eonline One of our favorite #RoyalWedding photos

    Royal wedding fever took the world by storm in April and no more so than on Twitter. Kate and William announced their engagement on Twitter and the official feed for Clarence House live-tweeted the wedding, with millions of others following suit.

  • 2011 in tweets: April

    Royal wedding

    @refinery29 Re: girl on the left at The Royal Wedding. We feel you.

  • 2011 in tweets: May

    Death of Osama bin Laden

    @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 and Twitter erupted.

    Picture: Getty Images

  • 2011 in tweets: May

    Joplin tornado

    @JoeAnderson Thought this storm was beautiful until I landed & found out it destroyed a hospital & much of Joplin

    Twitter was first in line as winds of 165 mph descended on the Missouri town of Joplin in May. 160 died and the landscape was reduced to rubble as the tornado took its toll.

  • 2011 in tweets: May

    Joplin tornado

    @alastormspotter Helicopter in front of Joplin, MO hospital. This is Tuscaloosa all over again.

  • 2011 in tweets: June

    Vancouver riots

    @WrongHeaded Vancouver riot. Some made love, not war.

    Love triumphing over violence became the iconic image on Twitter after riots broke out in the aftermath of Vancouver Canucks losing to the Boston Bruins in the final game of the Stanley Cup.

  • 2011 in tweets: June

    Vancouver riots

    @KIRO7Seattle BREAKING PIC: KIRO crew in the middle of a riot that has broken out in Vancouver, BC after the Canucks game.

  • 2011 in tweets: July

    Final space shuttle mission lifts off from Florida

    @TreyRatcliff TwitPic: The Final NIght of the Space Shuttle. #NASATweetup Go Atlantis!

    Tweeters were at the ready to record a momentous event in history, as the 135th and final space shuttle mission has lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Some beautiful Twitpics emerged within moments of take-off.

  • 2011 in tweets: July

    Final space shuttle mission lifts off from Florida

    @NASAKennedy #STS135 Atlantis' launch, seen from above through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft.

  • 2011 in tweets: July

    Women’s football World Cup

    @die_kuma 「その者青き衣をまといて金色の野に降り立つべし」 ナウシカJAPANだったのか!

    The nail-biting final between Japan and America in the Women’s World Cup set a Twitter record at the time, with 7,196 tweets published per second during the penalty shoot-out.

  • 2011 in tweets: July

    Death of Amy Winehouse

    @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.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • 2011 in tweets: July

    Phone hacking scandal

    @Joe_Hildebrand At last the #notw inquiry has exposed News Corp's deepest and darkest secret: Wendi Deng is a Power Ranger.

    Twitter was gripped by the phone-hacking scandal and no more so than when Wendi Deng lunged to the defence of her husband Rupert Murdoch as a protester tried to throw foam at him during the live broadcast of the Leveson inquiry. Tweets poured in celebrating Wendi's quick-thinking moves.

  • 2011 in tweets: August

    UK riots

    @jdrive Double Decker Bus Aflame #LondonRiots http://twitpic.com/636qa3 via @twitpic Wow

    Twitter was at the heart of the riots this August, with thousands of frantic messages charting the violence and looting as it spread across London and other areas in the UK. Though in part used to incite the unrest, Twitter also evolved as a means for good deeds, with massive clean-up campaigns and victim donations orchestrated via Tweets.

  • 2011 in tweets: August

    London riots

    @LIFE PHOTO: A woman leaping for her life during the #londonriots

  • 2011 in tweets: August

    London riots

    @benjamin_cook Riot-shield tea tray! My favourite photo from last night's riots in Camden: http://bit.ly/mXqvNs Taken at the top of my road. #LondonRiots

  • 2011 in tweets: August

    Beyonce is pregnant

    @MTV OMG Beyonce just made a huge announcement on the #vma carpet! #baby!!!!!

    The news that pop queen Beyonce was expecting her first child set a new Twitter record for the highest amount of the tweets posted per second, with 8,868 messages flying through the Twittersphere every second during August's VMAs.

  • 2011 in tweets: September

    10th anniversary of 9/11

    @TJ New York's skyline lit up in memory. #911

    America rallied to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Twitter in September. Users tweeted heartbreaking photos and memorial services to remember the 2,983 victims.

  • 2011 in tweets: September

    10th anniversary of 9/11

    @FDNY Flags representing the 343 #FDNY members lost on 9/11 during our memorial service. #WTC

  • 2011 in tweets: September

    10th anniversary of 9/11

    @latimes Photos from today's #911 memorials

  • 2011 in tweets: October (from February)

    Libyan uprising

    @okbahmushaweh عجزت ان اعلق على هذه الصورة #Syria #Libya (roughly translated as "unable to comment on this image")

    The Libyan civil war was front-page news throughout 2011, particularly on Twitter. Whenever big developments occurred - NATO attacks, rebel fighter advances or the eventual and gruesome death of Ghadafi - Twitter was there first, breaking the events as they happened. Twitpics and messages were central to fuelling the resistance, as with other countries caught up in the Arab Spring.

  • 2011 in tweets: October (from February)

    Libyan uprising

    @ibda3world ٢٠١١ سنة فريدة.. فهي أول سنة نشاهد فيها التاريخ بدلاً من قراءته ! #Libya (roughly translated as "the year 2011 is unique. It is the first year to watch history instead of reading about it!")

  • 2011 in tweets: October

    Libyan uprising and death of Ghadafi

    @AlArabiya_Eng Picture of where the NTC have said they found Muammar #Gaddafi in Sirte

  • 2011 in tweets: October

    Earthquake in Turkey

    @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.

  • 2011 in tweets: November

    Occupy movement against economic and social inequality

    @C0d3Fr0sty (pic) 84 yr old Dorli Rainey hit with pepper spray by Seattle police #OccupySeattle

    From Wall Street to London and Bogota, the Occupy protests against economic inequality took the world by storm in December. With 951 cities in 82 countries taking part, there was plenty to tweet about - with extreme use of force by police becoming a particularly potent topic.

  • 2011 in tweets: November

    Occupy movement against economic and social inequality

    @H_O_G_ "This is not a picture from some distant country.This is Oakland,CA 10/25/2011 #occupyoakland #BeSafe"

  • 2011 in tweets: November

    Occupy movement against economic and social inequality

    @OccupyOregon Great photo of @PortlandPolice protecting, serving.

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