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15 momentous times Twitter broke the internet in the last 15 years

Twitter's 15 years old! From serious to silly, let's take a look back...


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Hilarious viral moments, touching tweets, historic movements. Love it or hate it, Twitter’s changed the world since it first launched in 2006. That’s why 15 years on we’re taking a look back at some of the biggest moments in the Twittersphere.

1. #CupForBen

Twitter isn’t always the most love-filled place… but it’s definitely had its fair share of heart warming moments. Like when Marc Carter asked for help finding a new sippy cup for his autistic son Ben.

Ben had used the same Tommy Tippee cup since he was two and wouldn’t drink out of anything else. So Marc was pretty worried when the cup started falling apart years later. After asking for help using #CupForBen, the post was shared thousands of times. Marc was flooded with responses from well-wishers and even Tommy Tippee themselves to give Ben a lifetime supply of cups!

2. Caitlyn Jenner says hi

In 2015 Caitlyn Jenner broke the world record for the fastest time to reach 1m followers on Twitter- clocking in at just 4 hours and 3 minutes! She opened up her account at the same time as that now famous Vanity Fair cover, where she revealed her new name and identity as a transgender woman.

3. ‘Genie, you’re free’

On August 11th the sad news broke that beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams had died. Across Twitter people said their goodbyes and tributes to him. But one really stood out- this tweet from the Academy Awards using a line from one of his most famous movies, Aladdin.

4. ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’

This one also caused some tears… but more from laughter than anything else. When Kimberly ‘Sweet Brown’ Wilkins gave an interview in 2012 about escaping a fire at her apartment complex, the video clip went viral on Twitter. Luckily no one was badly hurt- but the phrase ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’ has been used in memes and tweets thousands of times since!

5. #MeToo

Alyssa Milano’s 2017 tweet using #MeToo wasn’t the first of its kind, but it definitely was the moment the movement gained momentum.

After accusations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein went public, the actress encouraged victims of sexual abuse to share their stories using the hashtag. Since then, it’s been used over 19m times and sparked a much-needed (massive understatement) conversation about sexual misconduct.

6. Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter (or #BLM) is obviously way bigger than Twitter. But the movement really got traction there, as activists spread the message and images, videos and discussions went viral. The BlackLivesMatter hashtag was (and still is) a powerful way for protestors to talk about the issue and organise. In fact, the hashtag cropped up on Twitter almost 11.8m times between its first use in 2013 to 2016.

7. The Hudson River plane crash

If you want to read about news as it breaks, Twitter’s the place to be. There are plenty of times the public’s tweeted about some major event before it’s hit the news desk. But it wasn’t always like that.

That is, until 2009 when Janis Krums tweeted about a plan crash landing in the Hudson River. As Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey put it, ‘it changed everything. Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of the news- and it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing.’

8. Twitter takes over

Most of the time we’ve got multiple social media sites vying for our attention. Not on the 13th March 2019! Facebook had a serious technical snafu, resulting in tons of people losing access to Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram. So who swooped in to save us from collective social media withdrawal? Why, Twitter of course.

9. Ed Balls day

Ah, Ed Balls day. A UK Twitter tradition ever since that fateful day in April 2011 when politician Ed Balls tweeted his own name. During his time as Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was searching for articles mentioning his name and instead tweeted his search. This inoffensive but cringe-worthy Twitter fail is still celebrated even now, ten years on.

So if you ever want a quick laugh, search Twitter for #EdBallsDay… just remember not to accidentally tweet it.

10. Barack racks up the retweets

From one politician to another across the pond. When Barack Obama won re-election in 2012, this image became the most retweeted tweet ever. In just half an hour it was retweeted 271,880 times.

11. That Oscars selfie

Barack got pipped to the post in 2014 though, when Ellen DeGeneres posted the most star-studded selfie of all time. While hosting the Oscars, she corralled a whole bunch of celebs for a selfie and quickly posted it on Twitter. Pretty soon after, it was retweeted 3 MILLION times. While it no longer holds the top spot for retweets, it was definitely an internet breaking moment.

12. #TheDress

We had to think twice about mentioning the dreaded dress- a debate that nearly broke friendships, families and relationships everywhere. The image originally popped up on Tumblr, but when Kim K tweeted things really took off. To some people it looks blue and black, to others white and gold. Either way, it freaked a lot of people out.

(Oh and it’s definitely blue)

13. An out of this world tweet

There being ice on Mars is massive news. Huge. Since it basically means there’s the potential for life on another planet in our Solar System. But what made this a big moment for Twitter (and not just y’know the human race) was that this was the place NASA decided to break the news.

14. Covfefe?

No Twitter list would be complete with at least some reference to The Donald. But back in 2017 then US President Donald Trump tweeted:

‘Despite the constant negative press covfefe.’

And that was it. Twitter went into overdrive speculating (with some pretty funny moments) about what he meant.

15. Hotline Bling – another meme is born.

Drake’s got some serious moves. Though that didn’t stop people from poking fun at his dancing in the music video for Hotline Bling. Twitter became the place to share some brilliant parodies of him getting down – from lightsabre wielding to tennis playing.

So those are some major Twitter moments from the last 15 years. If you’ve got any more, maybe it’s time to share them on… well, Twitter.

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