Twitter’s 2016 year in review

MacBook, coffee mug, and cactus

Updated on December 10, 2021

Yes, it’s only early December, but that hasn’t stopped the 2016 year in review articles from getting underway. I admit it wasn’t the most memorable year for many people (see: the US election’s outcome).

Twitter’s released its 2016 year in review page, titled “#ThisHappened in 2016.” It includes some popular hashtags/events. They’ve also listed the top 10 global hashtags for 2016.

1. #Rio2016

This year’s Summer Olympics, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was the top global trending hashtag of the year. Usain Bolt alone received a lot of attention as the fastest man alive (sorry, Barry Allen). The usual IOC corruption issues also plagued the run-up.

2. #Election2016

The US election is in second place, and for good reason. A controversial election from start to finish. (More on its outcome below.)

3. #PokemonGo

This year’s most popular mobile game craze was “Pokemon Go.” While it’s peaked in popularity from this summer, the game did get people out and moving.

4. #Euro2016

Euro 2016 is a quadrennial soccer championship played among European countries. Portugal won this year, beating host country France 1-0.

5. #Oscars

The Oscars, as usual, got a lot of attention. The hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite” also trended again, again for the usual reasons.

“Inside Out” was this year’s winner of the Best Animated Feature award.

6. #Brexit

The United Kingdom’s controversial (and xenophobia-driven) narrow vote to leave the European Union is still having lingering effects, on everything from the tech sector to imported American comics. It’s also resulted in the prime minister resigning, among other political fallout.

As for whether the UK will formally go “full Brexit,” CGP Grey made a YouTube video about the possible options at this point. None of them are particularly ideal for anyone pro- or anti-Brexit.

Scandinavia and the World also chimed in with a cartoon, summing up the likely worst-case-scenario aftermath. The joke at the end is probably about the British pound falling. In the days post-vote, its value fell to lows not seen in 30+ years.

7. #BlackLivesMatter

Black Lives Matter continued to have a presence in 2016. I’ve previously written about “Black Twitter” as a presence.

8. #Trump

Trump also trended, as he’s now the United States’ next president. As this isn’t a political blog, I’ll spare a lengthy off-topic rant. (I’ve already done plenty of that on Twitter.) But as a technology user, blogger, and African-American who dislikes bullies, I view his election as shameful, disgusting, and highly alarming.

Trump’s use so far of Twitter over actual press conferences (where his policies might be questioned), on top of his constant disparaging of the media, is disturbing from first amendment, strong press, and open government perspectives. Some articles have tried spinning this as a “new normal” or a “clever use of social media over traditional media,” but such normalizing shouldn’t be accepted.

Trump’s views on technology are also quite regressive, despite his heavy use of Twitter. Net neutrality’s likely dead under a Trump FCC. I also don’t expect heavy pushback against mergers such as the AT&T/Time Warner one, despite a few negative remarks by the former reality show host.

The rise since Election Day of hate crimes against immigrants, Muslims, LGBT people, and African-Americans is also a concern. Stuff like that affects people like yours truly. It makes it hard to simply dismiss Trump as a difference of political opinion, or a punchline on “The Simpsons” or “Saturday Night Live,” as I suspect some will over the next four years. (Ignoring Trump and his Cabinet’s regressive economic, social, and international policies will likely affect everyone, no matter what background.)

Ty Templeton drew a cartoon summarizing what should be done under the Donald’s presidency.

9. #RIP

A sizable number of high profile deaths in 2016 has led many to feel more down than usual about this year. Musicians Prince and David Bowie passed away this year. We also saw the worst mass shooting to date on US soil, at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

10. #GameofThrones

The TV show “Game of Thrones” continues to be highly popular. I’ve never seen the show, so don’t have much to say.

The comic strip “FoxTrot” had this hilarious mashup of “Game of Thrones” meets “My Little Pony.”


Between the above 10 news items and Twitter turning 10 in 2016, it’s received plenty of attention. Unfortunately, the social network’s also received a lot of negative attention for its problems.

The company’s still trying to figure out how to attract new customers. Despite Facebook’s problems (especially with “fake news“), Zuckerberg’s social network is still one of the most valuable companies today. It’s also the most popular social media service. Meanwhile, Twitter’s facing problems with how it handles trolls and other bullying.

As for what 2017 will bring for Twitter, a good question. I’d like to see Twitter put more effort into fixing its trolling problems, and not worry about trying to become like Facebook. Embracing what makes Twitter unique and becoming a more welcoming place will hopefully go a long ways toward keeping it around for a long time.


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Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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