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Anthony Less

Year in Review: Top Tweets of 2012

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

Twitter has become a major source of news and information. With our feeds being instantly updated with news from around the globe, we tune in not just to follow our friends or favorite celebrities but also to be connected to the world on an instantaneous and collective basis.

Twitter released their report “2012: Year on Twitter” highlighting the top tweets, trends, and biggest conversations of the year. You can even track your own year on Twitter.

It’s interesting to see the years most influential moments and events displayed in 140 characters or less. From Obama’s momentous re-election to the devastating days surrounding Hurricane Sandy, Twitter kept us informed, engaged, and yes, sometimes a little enraged.

For a social media platform that relays over half a billion tweets per day, here are the ones that stood out.

Most Retweeted Tweets:


This tweet signified Obama’s re-election and within hours became not only the most retweeted tweet of 2012, but of all time. It was retweeted by people in more than 200 countries around the world.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber’s tweet memorializing six-year-old fan Avalanna Routh who died of a rare form of brain cancer and who he became close with, became the second most retweeted tweet of 2012.

Biggest Conversations of the Year:

Summer Olympics

The 16-day Summer Games in London generated 150 million Tweets. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt was the most-discussed athlete with 80,000 Tweets about him per minute.

2012 Presidential Election 

Over 31 million tweets were sent about the election on Election Day.

Top Trends:

In Sports: 

  1. #nfl
  2. #nascar
  3. #mlb

I’m sure the Super Bowl has something to do with the NFL ranking number one, with 13.7 million Super Bowl-related Tweets during the game.

In TV:

  1. family guy
  2. #bb14 (Big Brother)
  3. american dad
  4. hey arnold
  5. american idol

Is Hey Arnold still around? Nostalgia must be the driving force behind its appearance on this list of conversation-starters.

In Movies:

  1. think like a man
  2. the hunger games
  3. the avengers

Based on box office numbers, The Hunger Games and The Avengers should rank higher, but the comedy Think Like a Man had people buzzing.

In Music:

  1. rick ross
  2. #hiphop
  3. trey songz
  4. nicki minaj

With Justin Bieber having one of the most retweeted tweets of the year, you’d think he’d crack one of the tops spots on this list.

In Food:

  1. ihop
  2. starbucks
  3. wafflehouse

Starbucks isn’t surprising- everyone and their mother tweeted a picture of their Pumpkin Spice Latte this fall-but IHOP?!?!


With 2012 coming to a close, it’s nice to reflect on the events of the past year and look forward to what 2013 has to offer. And you know that whatever the new year has in store,  Twitter will be there to keep us updated.

Hope everyone had a great 2012 and that 2013 brings you even more joy and happiness!


Lost and Found: Missing Hat Facebook Post Goes Viral

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Bridget Hughes of Las Cruces, New Mexico lost one of her most important posessions: a hat. While the hat pictured above might not look like anything special, it’s a piece of sentimental value for Hughes. It was the hat her mother wore during chemo treatments before passing away from breast cancer when Bridget was 7. It is “the only possession of her I could constantly carry with me.”

She took to her Facebook page to see if anyone had found it and the response was overwhelming. So far, the post has over 37,000 likes and over 220,000 shares.

Here’s her post:

My name is Bridget Hughes and on Monday November 26 at around 12:30 a.m. I was at the B7 gate in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport waiting to board U.S. Airlines flight 2918 to El Paso. My flight was cancelled. In all of the chaos that ensued me getting my new ticket and my hotel voucher I lost one of the most valuable things I own. It is a simple knit brown floppy hat from the Gap (pictured below).

My mother passed away from Breast Cancer when I was 7. This is the hat she wore most often during her chemo treatments. My aunt gave it to me when I moved away after I graduated from college. It was one the only possession of hers I could constantly carry with me. I checked the gate the next morning, the hotel, and my shuttle van. It was nowhere to be found. I’ve contacted the Phoenix Airport Lost and Found, but I doubt I’ll hear back from them. So, I’ve turned it over to the power of social media, all for a hat that represents the fierce goofy independent spirit of a woman that is my mother. If anyone is willing to just share this status, I’ll be really grateful.

The hat still has not been found and Hughes even had to write another Facebook post telling people to stop calling and bothering the Phoenix Airport.

Even though Bridget’s hat is still missing, her story shows the impact social media can have and the sense of community it brings. When you see so many Facebook posts of people using hurtful words or using social media as a way to bully, it’s comforting to see people band together in support of a girl’s missing hat.  As Bridget said, “If the hat does not turn up, I will be sad, but my life will go on and I will have been put in contact with all of you and your stories. For the kindness that you’ve shown me, thank you.”

Social Media for Activism: “Never Reatreat, Retweet”

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, What's Trending | No Comments

I’ve been seeing a lot of year-end lists of the best films of 2012 and New York Magazine included a documentary called “Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry,” a film I had never heard of. Working in social media, it piqued my interest since the reviewer described it as a story of a man who uses “Twitter to drive a totalitarian government nuts.”

I did some research on the film and the story is quite compelling.

The film chronicles the life of artist Ai WeiWei, who in 2011 was named the most powerful artist in the world by ArtReview. As well as being a popular artist, he has become known as a political activist and intellectual critic from his use of social media- Twitter in particular—as a tool for spreading his many messages, often in defiance of the Chinese government.

Here’s a description of the film from the film’s website:

“Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.

Ai WeiWei:Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.”

In the trailer for the film, WeiWei declares that he believes “the most important medium of our time is Twitter.” Some people are even calling him the first “social media artist,” since he’s using the medium like no one has before him.

His mantra is “Don’t retreat, retweet.” After being imprisoned for 81 days last year, he was released on the condition that he would not speak to the media. He did not retreat. He took to his Twitter to express his opinions on the oppressive state of China’s government. Twitter allowed him the ability to speak without a filter and have his voice heard.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Blogspot and other social media sites have been blocked in China because the Communist Party of China deems these websites “detrimental to maintaining social peace and harmony.”

Chinese citizens, including WeiWei, use Internet tools to unblock the Firewall and gain access but China’s attempt to censor it’s citizens have empowered WeiWei to speak out. He even tweeted at Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, to express his concerns.

For Ai WeiWei “the role of an artist is to be focused on communication, engagement, and furthering conversation.” Social media as a medium is used for precisely those reasons and it’s inspiring to see an artist using Twitter as a form of activism. We can learn a lot from this famed Chinese artist.

Here’s the trailer for the documentary below:
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Hootsuite’s 2012 Election Tracker

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Hootsuite has set up a 2012 Election Tracker to provide a look at the social media chatter surrounding tomorrow’s Presidential election. The comprehensive command center tracks everything from tweets from @BarackObama and @MittRomney, mentions of the Presidential candidates and VP candidates, and even mentions of the women vying for the title of First Lady.

What I thought was really interesting about HootSuite’s Election Tracker was the tracking of social media sentiment for each candidate. This section of the tracker tracks the mood of the tweets surrounding each candidate. You can see what percentage of tweets for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney express sentiments such as affection/friendliness, enjoyment/elation, amusement/excitement, anger/loathing, sadness/grief, humiliation/shame, and others.

Matt Switzer, VP Partnerships & Corporate Development at HootSuite, explained that, “Social media has become an incredible barometer of public opinion, and the public expresses more opinion during elections than almost any other time. This election-focused social command center dashboard provides a public opinion poll happening right in front of you during the entire election. Up-to-date info is essential during an election that sees candidates giving speeches, and potentially making mistakes, every hour of every day.”

This will be a great resource to stay up-to-date on the reactions surrounding the results of the election tomorrow night. Stay tuned for Elizabeth’s blog tomorrow where she will talk about the social media stats of the Presidential election!


The Power of Social Media

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | No Comments

Never has the power of social media been more prevalent than in the case of Jennifer Livingston and her husband’s support of her on his personal Facebook page. Livingston, a news anchor in Wisconsin, received an email from a viewer complaining about her size and how she isn’t a “suitable example” for the community’s younger people that see her on television. She took the air last week to defend herself after the attack on her weight.

The email went viral after her husband, a fellow anchor, posted it on his Facebook page. His Facebook posts on the subject have gotten an overwhelming response, with one post receiving over 60,000 comments.

Livingston addressed the issue on-air last week and if you haven’t seen it, take some time out of your day to watch her video below, as her message is an important one:

Jennifer Livingston Bullying Response

Livingston has said she has received thousands of responses on her Facebook page, thanking her for speaking out against bullies and sharing their personal experiences with her.

Since October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, her message couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Her message “to all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face, listen to me right now: Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience — that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many,” is a timely one. And the shouts of many have poured out on social media outlets, showing their support. If nothing else, it has started a discussion. And for people who feel bullied or insecure or lost, it’s encouraging to know you’re not alone. If only social media could always be used in such a positive, encouraging manner, the world would be a better, more tolerant place.

Chicago Teachers Union Strike: #TeamNoSchool or #TeamTeachers?

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The Chicago Teachers Union called for a strike last night for the first time in 25 years. That means 350,000 Chicago Public School students did not go to class today and will remain out of school for the foreseeable future until negotiations are made. As a student, I’m sure this is like hitting the jackpot. No homework, no early morning bus rides, no assignments to stress over. It’s probably comparable to what it’s like when you get a snow day. And who doesn’t love a snow day? In fact, CPS students were tweeting last night and #teamnoschool was trending.

The thing is though this is nothing like a snow day. Sure, it’s fun to have class cancelled. I’d be lying if I said that if I were I student I wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of getting to put my schoolwork on the backburner for a few days. But when it comes down to it, real issues are at stake. In addition to fighting for job security and benefits, Chicago teachers are fighting for better schools, better working conditions, and a better overall education for these students. They are advocating to get more social workers and therapists in school to deal with the multitude of factors that teachers aren’t equipped to deal with such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger, and other social issues. While the thrill of a few days off may be appealing, it’s fleeting compared to the issues these Chicago teachers are fighting for.

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel is blaming the teachers for keeping children out of school and the teachers are blaming a school district and a political system that have left them no choice. I undoubtedly think children should be in school getting an education, instead of on the streets adding to the gang violence already prevalent in Chicago. At the same time, teachers are fighting for a beneficial cause not only for themselves but also for the future generations of students trying to get a quality education. Which side do you stand on?


The “Mindset List” of Incoming College Freshmen aka “This List Will Make You Feel Old”

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Summer is almost over and students are getting in the back-to-school routine. Incoming college freshmen, the Class of 2016, are moving into their dorms, getting ready for classes, and entering college with a very different mindset than previous generations. Each year, Beloit College in Wisconsin compiles a list they call the “Mindset List” to give a snapshot at how the incoming freshmen view the world. For anyone no longer in college and born before 1994, this list is sure to make you feel old.

The Class of 2016 has never lived in a world where Kurt Cobain was alive. They have no need for radios. And they watch television basically everywhere except on the actual TV.

 15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.

68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.

Working in social media and with technology on a daily basis, it’s interesting to see how many items on the list are about how this class’ lives are so technologically ingrained. The list says they are addicted to “electronic narcotics.” And for everyone who logs onto Facebook or Twitter daily, we all know that “addiction” isn’t such a far off word to use.

2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”

5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.

27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail-mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone screens. 

35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.

Some of the things on the list are slightly troubling, at least to a movie buff such as myself (really, guys, watch The Godfather).

7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.

But there are many items on the list that show the progressive viewpoints of future generations and just how much the minds of young people in America are changing. This incoming freshman class is familiar with seeing women in positions of power and grew up at a time when Madeline Albright was serving as the first female U.S. secretary of state. They are a more tolerant class, growing up in a time when race issues are practically a thing of the past and marriage equality issues are at the forefront of their consciousness.

12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.

23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.

24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited. 

38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.

While some things on this list might make me feel a little old, it’s refreshing to see that viewpoints are shifting and that the mindset of young Americans is changing, for the better.

Rich Kids of Instagram #rkoi

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Reality TV, Social Media, What Not to Post, What's Trending | No Comments

A new blog on Tumblr called Rich Kids of Instagram has become popular for showcasing self-proclaimed “rich kids” in various states of excess and indulgence, sparking a debate over rich kids and social media. It boasts the headline “They have more money than you and this is what they do.”

The blog is populated by Instagram shots of enormous mansions, expensive cars, designer jewelry, and luxurious yachts. There is even a picture of two 20-somethings standing in front of a plane with the caption “My new toy! #plane”

One of the more ridiculous posts shows a receipt for over $100,000 worth of food and drinks.

And don’t even get me started on the picture of a teen thanking his personal chef.

There was controversy surrounding the site earlier this month when Alexandra Dell, daughter of Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc. put up pictures of her private jet and her shopping plans and schedule, creating a potential security risk.

The blog could even serve as an ad for Dom Pérignon with almost every other picture featuring a bottle. Yes, there is even a picture of people showering themselves with the pricey champagne. While I wish I were classy enough to enjoy some Dom on my yacht, I’ll have to stick to my post-college, twenty-something budget of Bud Light on my back deck.

It’s no surprise that this blog has become so popular. We tune in every week to view the spending habits and lavish lifestyles of rich women on whatever franchise of Real Housewives is on. We watch in awe and shock at the extravagant parties thrown on MTVs My Super Sweet 16.We consume tabloids that showcase designer duds and the decadent celebrity weddings and vacations they feature.

But has this blog taken our voyeuristic obsession with the wealthy a little too far? It’s one thing to get sucked into a reality show or admire fancy dresses on a red carpet but to see images of rich kids frivolously and unabashedly boasting about their lavish lifestyles in such an upfront manner leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

What are your thoughts? Is this a fun blog to check up on regularly or are you as put off by it as I am?