Twitter’s top trends for Ireland in 2017 revealed
Hot topics on Twitter this year included Brexit, #Ophelia and, em, chicken nuggets
Conor McGregor had one of the most retweeted tweets of the year. Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images for Wynn Nightlife
It’s that time of the year again: a time for leftover mince pies putrefying in the office kitchen, national Solpadeine shortages, and PR companies desperately clutching at the coattails of the zeitgeist with the annual deluge of “the year in …” press releases.
Among the scintillating updates littering the darkest sub-folders of our email inboxes this year is a round-up of the year’s best open-plan kitchens, a review of 2017’s top board games and the “most facepalm” moments of the past 12 months.
But one of the genuinely interesting year-end reviews is the list published every December by Twitter. It is interesting primarily because it is a reminder of social media’s power not just to mirror a country’s preoccupations, but also to shape them – given that three of Ireland’s top five hashtags in 2017 reflected movements that played out chiefly, or in part, on social media.
#RepealThe8th is in at number one this year in the list of the top five Irish news hashtags, up one place on 2016, reflecting the movement’s continued momentum on social media. A handful of related hashtags, including #KnowYourRepealers and #trustwomen also gained prominence this year.
Unsurprisingly, #Brexit shot to number two – a trend that you wouldn’t have to be Tommie Gorman to predict is unlikely to be reversed any time soon.
#Ophelia, the ex-hurricane which raged across Ireland in October, stormed the charts (sorry, it turns out that if you read enough year-end press releases, you start to sound like one), making landfall (we’ll get our coats) at number three.
Tragically, three people died in the storm, which wreaked havoc in the south of the country particularly.
#IrishWater has been a stalwart of the top political hashtags for the last few years. It’s not a new brand of designer gin, though that may only be a matter of time – nope, we’re still talking about the water charges fiasco.
This year, the #IrishWater hashtag fell two places to number four, as Twitter users took to social media to express their bemusement at their taxes being used to give them their own money back, and a handful of enterprising companies tried to cash in with suggestions for what they could do with the refunds.
Fifth on the list of Irish news hashtags was #Tuambabies, as the story shocked readers of the New York Times, and journalist John Waters travelled to the US to give a controversial talk on the subject.
The Twitter review also showed that while Vincent Browne may have retired from our TV screens, his influence is still there snarling and growling from the shadows. #VinB rounded off his retirement year by giving him the most tweeted about TV show of 2017, with some Twitter users still refusing to bow to the inevitable and begging for an encore.
#Eurovision was second, followed by #rtept, #cbb and #latelateshow.
Reflective of the generally miserable state of world politics, humour, joy, or anything approaching a scintilla of positivity were in short supply in 2017, in Ireland and globally.
Twitter has been publishing end-of-year lists of worldwide trending topics since 2010, and country-specific charts since 2012. In that time, the early, now touchingly naïve feelgood hashtags of #followfriday, #rememberwhen and #blessed have succumbed to an altogether darker global top five featuring #Trump, #Syria, #GE2017, #Manchester and #Resist.
Was it too much to hope for a review of the year that managed to avoid all mention of the McGregonator? Of course it was.
There he was with one of the most retweeted tweets of the year, announcing his fight with boxer Floyd Mayweather, alongside Barack Obama, who had the most liked tweet, and, er, a chap who likes chicken nuggets who achieved one of the most retweeted tweets of all time. What a time to be alive.
But Twitter wasn’t completely devoid of hope for the future of humanity. One of the year’s top Irish tweets was by Inpho photographer Morgan Treacy, as he caught a moment between Galway manager Micheál Donoghue and his father Miko that would melt Arctic glaciers. Also Full marks also to Dublin Fire Brigade for relevance, wit and national pride for their tweet celebrating the Irish rugby victory against England on March 18th.
Other sporting moments that caught the imagination of Twitter included #WRWC2017, #mayweathermcgregor, #AllIrelandFinal, #IREVENG and #Superbowl.
And finally, comedian and Joe.ie writer Justine Stafford won Twitter in 2017 with a tweet that played on the lyrics of a Killers song and proved that, even in the darkest times, you can’t beat a good pun.