At its best, Twitter connects people and ideas that are miles, states, even worlds apart. In 2013, people sent an average of 500 million tweets per day. From that list of billions, here’s a look at some of our favorite Twitter moments of inspiration, amusement and wonder:
A down-to-Earth look that’s out of this world
Astronaut Chris Hadfield became a Twitter sensation in 2013. For five months aboard the International Space Station, the Canadian commander tweeted from space. Beaming down visions of Earth, he ended each night with a finale beyond the world of ordinary, including this shot of the sun peeking through the horizon.
Spaceflight finale: To some this may look like a sunset. But it's a new dawn. pic.twitter.com/iVgyUihqEN
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 13, 2013
Strength in numbers
In April, the five-day search for Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev captured the attention of the country. News organizations ran the story day and night on-air and on social media, for better and for worse. Though details of the Tsarnaev brothers flooded Twitter, it was #BostonStrong that rose to the top, reminding us all that tragedy does not equal defeat.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 16, 2013
Sit back, and enjoy the show
Sometimes, the biggest moment during a television special isn’t one that’s observed on television. Sometimes, it exists on the so-called “second screen,” where a show-related remark on Twitter becomes a talked about sensation. One of the biggest examples of a show-stealing tweet in 2013? Oreo’s brilliant response within minutes of the Super Bowl surprise blackout.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Batkid to the rescue
In mid-November, a five-year-old Batkid took San Francisco and the Internet by storm. When Make-a-Wish Foundation vouched to make Miles Scott’s dream to be Batman a reality, a San Francisco-turned-Gotham City played its part too. And the rest of the country? They got to join in on Twitter. They too reveled in the pint-sized Batkid’s heroic efforts, and believed — at least for the day — in superheroes.
— Make-A-Wish Bay Area (@SFWish) November 15, 2013
A message from the White House
In the year since President Barack Obama’s reelection, the White House social media team has continued to ensure that the president’s presence on Twitter remains active and connected to people beyond the realm of politics. Perhaps there was no better tweet that captured that approachability, than Bo-meets-Mean Girls.
Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen. pic.twitter.com/Ez6hWGFpFc
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 13, 2013
Living in the moment
One of the greatest examples of Twitter’s ability to connect the world on the most human of levels occurred in late July when NPR Weekend Edition host Scott Simon tweeted from his mother’s bedside as she took her last breaths of life. For five days in the moments before, during and after her passing, he shared her insight with the world beyond that hospital room.
I think she wants me to pass along a couple of pieces of advice, ASAP. One: reach out to someone who seems lonely today.
— Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) July 28, 2013
What did you think were some of the most powerful moments on Twitter in 2013? Tell us below.
And think you’re a twitter politico? Take our quiz and see if you can identify these top political tweets of 2013.