Twitter reveals hot topics of 2013

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A royal baby, a raunchy dance, a new pope, a boy band and the crowning of a tennis champion were just some of the hot topics of conversation this year on Twitter.

The birth of the Prince of Cambridge in July, which was announced both on an easel at Buckingham Palace and on Twitter, sparked a frenzy of excitement on the social networking site which spread rapidly across the world.

A spike in conversation came in the minutes following the initial announcement, with more than 25,300 tweets per minute.

At the time, Twitter said the highest volumes of conversation came from the UK, the United States, Canada, France and Italy.

A popular debate surrounding baby George left Twitter users guessing what name the future king would be given.

The day after his birth, more than 18,000 people a minute tweeted about the royal prince as he made his first public appearance with his parents on the steps of the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington.

The first sighting of the infant with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was also "live-tweeted'' by the Royal Family's official ClarenceHouse Twitter account, which provides updates about the couple, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Harry.

Leading figures including Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby took to the site to share their joy on hearing the news of the latest addition to the royal family.

But although it got people talking, the announcement of the royal baby's birth failed to generate the same flurry of activity on social media as Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon victory earlier in the month which amassed 120,000 tweets per minute, or the election of Pope Francis in March which sparked a massive 132,000 tweets per minute.

Contributing to the thousands of celebratory tweets following Murray's tennis triumph were figures as diverse as Mr Cameron, Victoria Beckham and millionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

Elsewhere in the sporting world, football dominated the biggest spikes in UK Twitter traffic, with seven of the top 10 topics in terms of tweets per second being about the beautiful game.

The moment that Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League after being beaten by Real Madrid took the number one spot, while England's draw with Brazil in a friendly to mark the official reopening of the Maracana stadium ahead of the Brazil 2014 World Cup and when Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final second leg completing the top five.

Also achieving some of the most tweets per second was Mumford and Sons' closing set at Glastonbury in June, with millions marking the moment the band were joined on stage by The Vaccines and Vampire Weekend to sing Beatles classic With A Little Help From My Friends.

While the election of a new pontiff may be a centuries-old process it captured the imagination of the modern age - prompting seven million mentions on Twitter.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Rome for the historic event, while millions more trained their eyes on the Sistine Chapel from afar and flooded the internet with updates.

Cardinal of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election dominated online discussion to such a degree that it became the subject of eight of the top 10 trending topics at one point, according to Twitter.

Twerking - the risqué dance move made famous by US star Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards in August - became a sensation both offline and on Twitter.

One of the most talked about moments of the night - and in the showbiz year - both Cyrus, her twerking and her foam finger prop took the site by storm as people expressed mainly shock and disapproval.

With almost 25 million unique followers between them, it comes as no surprise the 1D movie premiere took over the Twitter conversation.

As Harry, Zayn, Louis, Niall and Liam took to the red carpet in London's Leicester Square for One Direction: This Is Us in August, fans around the world tweeted about the band and the film.

There were more than 3.6 million related tweets on the day, and in 24 hours there were more than 1.9 million tweets using the hashtag #1DMoviePremiere.

Three of the five most retweeted messages of the year also came from members of the boyband.

Prince George was not the only baby to be the centre of attention with micro-bloggers this year, as the birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's daughter was also hotly gossiped about during the summer.

Fans of the American couple eagerly awaited the latest news on Twitter after Kardashian's sister Khloe appeared to let the word slip when she tweeted about the "miracle" that had become part of their family.

The baby's name North West was also much scoffed at on the social networking site.

Used as a sort of discussion forum for television, many users turn to Twitter in their hordes to express their views about everything from storylines, characters and the latest twist in a drama, to who they think deserves to win the latest talent show.

This year, viewers of eight-part ITV drama Broadchurch, which starred David Tennant and Olivia Colman as detectives on the hunt for the killer of 11-year-old Danny Latimer, were keen to share their theories on the whodunnit mystery.

When the series ended, a Twitter account was set up for a slug squashed by Colman's character in the finale called BroadchurchSlug.

As well as turning to Twitter, many users claim to try to ignore the social networking site around the time of drama finales in a bid to avoid spoilers.

While many did this to prevent the premature discovery of Danny's killer in Broadchurch, fans of US cult show Breaking Bad pleaded with their fellow Twitter users to be scant with the details of the final episode.

The finale of the five-season AMC show about chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White was eagerly anticipated by fans and its passing was mourned on Twitter with the hashtag #GoodbyeBreakingBad.

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