Sporting events, dead celebrities and, perhaps inevitably, One Direction, dominated the national debate in Britain last year, at least on the social network Twitter, which has revealed the 10 most tweeted about topics of 2013.
Analysing tweets from 15 million active users, Twitter said Manchester United's 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid triggered the year's biggest tweeting frenzy, with fans sharing their disbelief as the club was knocked out of the champions league on 5 March. Football generated seven of the 10 busiest periods on Twitter through the year.
"Sport lends itself well to these frenzied moments when fans are sitting on their sofa at home and reach for the phone to talk about what just happened," said Lewis Wiltshire, Twitter's UK director of media partnerships.
After the tweets wishing everyone a happy new year in second place, Andy Murray's victory as the first male British singles winner at Wimbledon in 77 years created the third biggest moment on Twitter, as witnesses shared their collective disbelief and joy over the sporting milestone. One of the few music highlights in the list was Mumford and Sons' closing out of the Glastonbury festival with the Beatles classic With a Little Help From My Friends, which caused a ruckus on Twitter as fans and detractors argued about the choice of song.
Death also featured heavily in the collective conversation this year. Britons took to Twitter to remember the passing of former poet laureate Seamus Heaney, author Iain Banks, Lady Thatcher and James Gandolfini, who was best known for his leading role in the Sopranos. The recent death of former South African president Nelson Mandela caused an outpouring of emotion and mourning around the world, reflected on Twitter.
The world's most popular and retweeted message of the year goes to Glee actor Lea Michele, thanking fans for their support over the death of her co-star Cory Monteith with 408,000 retweets. Fast and Furious star Paul Walker's shock death also invoked 400,000 retweets.
The birth in July of Prince George accounted for one of the year's biggest wave of tweets in Britain, and the prize for the most global retweets is claimed by the heart-throbs of One Direction, who accounted for three of the top five most retweeted messages. A picture of a sleeping Harry Styles tweeted by bandmate Zayn Malik was retweeted 344,000 times, while Malik's further tweet thanking fans for their best wishes on his engagement was retweeted 336,000 times by fans.
But it was the band's lower profile Niall Horan who apparently captured the world's imagination with the insightful blast "Yesss! I'm 20! Wohooo ! No more teens!", which was retweeted no less than 375,000 times. A modern classic, in 140 characters.
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image: © Eva Rinaldi