TORONTO – Canadians showed a strong sense of national pride online over the last year, banding together during times of national tragedy and celebrating big sports wins in 140-characters or less.
Twitter released its 2014 #YearOnTwitter report Wednesday, highlighting the top tweets, moments, hashtags and people on the social network.
The Oct. 22 shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa was the year’s most talked about moment for Canadian Twitter users, according to the sites numbers. Canadians, politicians and celebrities alike used the hashtags #StaySafeOttawa and #PrayForOttawa to show support.
The Parliament Hill shooting wasn’t the only national tragedy to make the list.
The Moncton, N.B., shooting that left three RCMP officers dead and two others injured, and the subsequent manhunt for the gunman Justin Bourque, came in third on the list of the most widely discussed stories.
Social media played an important role in the Moncton shootings, as residents tweeted photos and videos of Bourque and various police activities during the nearly 24-hour long lockdown.
But due to the sheer volume of posts on social networks, police were forced to ask residents to refrain from sharing information about barricades and police activity in fear that Bourque was using sites like Twitter to evade police.
Major news events weren’t the only thing Canadians were tweeting about this year; in fact, six out of the top 10 moments were sports related.
The Canadian men’s hockey team gold medal win generated the second-most traffic on Twitter in 2014.
Other notable events included Toronto’s Municipal Election on Oct. 27, which saw John Tory elected Mayor of Toronto, taking over for controversial out-going mayor, Rob Ford.
Top 10 most tweeted about news stories of 2014:
- Ottawa shooting on Parliament Hill — Oct. 22, 2014
- Canadian men’s hockey team beats Sweden 3-0 winning the Olympic gold medal — Feb. 23, 2014
- Manhunt in Moncton following the shooting of RCMP officers — June 5, 2014
- Germany beats Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup — July 13, 2014
- Canadian women’s hockey team beats USA 3-2 winning the Olympic gold medal — Feb. 20, 2014
- Canadian men’s hockey team beats USA 1-0 winning Olympic hockey semi-final game — Feb. 21, 2014
- Brazil beats Croatia 3-1 to win opening match of World Cup 2014 — June 12, 2014
- Germany beats Brazil 7-1 to win World Cup semi-final match — July 8, 2014
- Voting day for Toronto Municipal Election 2014 — Oct. 27, 2014
- Canadians celebrate Canada Day 2014 — July 1, 2014
When it comes down to individual tweets, Canada’s own Justin Bieber took home the prize for the “Golden Tweet” – also known as the most retweeted tweet of the year.
The tweet, sent shortly after his DUI arrest in January, garnered over 486,000 retweets.
Bieber is also the most followed Canadian on Twitter, with over 57.8 million followers. Toronto-born rapper Drake is the second most-followed Canadian with just over 18 million followers.
Globally, Ellen’s Oscar group selfie was the most retweeted tweet of the year. But that was to be expected – after all, the star studded photo broke the record for the most retweets before the end of the awards show.
Top 10 most used hashtags on Twitter in 2014:
- #BB16 – Season 16 of the reality television series, Big Brother
- #WorldCup – 2014 World Cup, the largest sporting event on Twitter ever
- #Sochi2014 – Refers to 2014 Winter Olympics
- #GoHabsGo – Cheering on the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens
- #Oilers – Refers to NHL’s Edmonton Oilers
- #TOpoli – Refers to Toronto politics and was the hashtag used during the Toronto Municipal Elections
- #MH370 – MH370 was a Malaysian Airlines plane that disappeared on March 8, 2014
- #cdnpoli – Refers to Canadian politics
- #NHLjets – Refers to NHL’s Winnipeg Jets
- #Canucks – Refers to NHL’s Vancouver Canucks