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Twitter’s trending topics may often be filled with silly things, spam and a lot more that isn’t worth looking back on once the year is over. But once in a while, a hilarious, endearing, or significant hashtag comes along that generates thousands of tweets to make it a special Twitter moment worth remembering.
As 2013 is coming to an end, we’ve decided to take a look back at the most memorable hashtags that came to pass this year. From natural disasters to the death of a great man, from the end of an immensely popular TV show to a 5-year-old boy’s biggest wish coming true, 2013 has seen it all.
On December 5, people took to Twitter to share their personal stories, memories and thoughts on Nelson Mandela. South Africa’s former president was mourned on television sets, radios, and, of course, on Twitter. Whether by using the hashtag, #RIPNelsonMandela, #NelsonMandela, or most fondly, #Madiba, some of his best known quotes were shared on Twitter, together with photos of Mandela himself, or of impromptu tributes taking place all over the world.
— 350 dot org (@350) December 6, 2013
As Time took the vote for its 2013 Person of the Year, it called on readers to vote on Twitter using the hashtag, #TimePOY. This method added a new dimension to the poll, because it gave users the chance to add a personal message or even an image to their vote, making it all the more meaningful. The result? Over half a million votes were registered via Twitter, and the people’s choice ended up being Egypt’s Minister of Defense, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He was closely followed by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with third place going to pop star Miley Cyrus.
— ???? ????? (@Khairy_Ramadan) November 30, 2013
The only drawback to TIME’s decision to open the voting to Twitter users with a hashtag? Far too many seem to think that voting is still open, and days after the poll closed, continue to cast their votes.
One of the most touching moments captured by social media took place in San Francisco in November. Arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the day revolved around 5-year-old Miles Scott, who is in remission from Leukemia. It wasn’t just San Francisco that got to know Miles on November 15, when the entire city was transformed into a 5-year-old’s ultimate dream. Reaching out on social media, including Twitter, they called for people to line the streets as Miles joined “Batman” in battling the bad guys around the city. Miles quickly earned the title #Batkid.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) November 15, 2013
Over 78,000 tweets went out that day, including some from some pretty big names such as Ben Affleck and US President Barack Obama.
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) November 16, 2013
2013 also marked the 50-year anniversary of American President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. With the United States commemorating the death of its 35th president, photos from the past and present flooded onto Twitter. With people sharing photos of their encounters with Kennedy, including a photo of a 17-year-old Bill Clinton, and photos of their commemorations for the day, at Arlington Cemetery, for example, remembrance of a very personal American moment became a global experience on Twitter.
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) November 25, 2013
It seems that disaster always brings people closer together. In 2012, we saw that happen when Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern shore board of the United States, and this year, the same was seen when a devastating typhoon hit the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan hit the island country and an outpouring of support was seen through Twitter. Long after the Typhoon dissipated, its after effects are still felt in the Philippines and the hashtag continues to appear on the social network in connection to fundraising efforts and more, giving rise to another hashtag — #ThereAfterHaiyan.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) December 2, 2013
Another example of support that flooded Twitter’s pages was seen earlier in the year when the Boston Marathon was struck by a bomb killing three and injuring hundreds. #bostonstrong became the mantra of support, and continues to be a commonly used hashtag to this day. #bostonstrong was not a new hashtag, however. It was used before the bombing by Red Sox fans, and became a symbol not just for the city’s baseball team, but a symbol for the city as a whole.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 5, 2013
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, not everything on Twitter is as serious as these hashtags might have you think. It’s only fair that a few hashtags in this list honour that wacky side of Twitter that allows things like #CrapSuperPowers to become a trending topic. While Twitter users can easily rally around a silly and imaginative hashtag, they can also rally around significant TV moments. Whether it’s the Oscars, Grammys, VMAs, the Superbowl, or any other significant TV show, Twitter is having a collective viewing party online. Nowhere was this more vibrant and creative as with the Breaking Bad finale. As the popular TV show ended its fifth and final season, Twitter users took to the internet to share their thoughts on the show.
I hope when I end the world it feels as satisfying as that. #GoodbyeBreakingBad
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) September 30, 2013
What Does 2014 Hold?
While these hashtags were all powered by a significant offline moment that generated a lot of buzz, there’s no reason you can’t generate a bit of buzz yourself in 2014. It’s all about choosing the right hashtag to help you reach a wider audience. If you need some tips on how to use hashtags, be sure to check out these 5 tools that will help you use hashtags the right way.
What hashtags would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.