As 2015 comes to an end, both Twitter and Facebook have released their top 10 lists for the year. Culturally and politically, the reports by both social media sites offered some surprises.
On both Twitter and Facebook, Caitlyn Jenner and One Direction ruled supreme.
On Twitter this year, Caitlyn Jenner’s new account amassed over 1 million followers in four hours, the fastest ever. She even claimed a Guinness World Record for the fastest account to reach that mark. Jenner also earned eighth place for the most mentioned entertainer on Facebook.
The boy band One Direction owned retweets in 2015, especially after member Zayn Malik left the group.
One Direction claimed four of the top five retweets of 2015, with the outlier stolen by President Obama after the legalization of gay marriage. The most retweeted post came from Harry Styles at 730,298, followed by One Direction's Zayn Malik and Liam Payne with 567,193 and 496,729 retweets respectively. #OneDirection also won the spot for the most used music hashtag in 2015.
And when it comes to sports, the US favorites of football, baseball, and basketball were largely absent. In a 2014 Gallup poll, 35 percent of American sports fans voted the NFL as their favorite sport, followed by Major League baseball and the NBA.
But the top five athletes mentioned on Facebook this year – Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Ronda Rousey, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo – hail from other sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, and soccer. NFL star Tom Brady and NBA stars Stephen Curry and LeBron James round out the top 10.
Twitter followed the same surprising trend, with the Women’s World Cup hashtag #FIFAWWC earning more mentions than any other sports-related hashtag. “Tweets about the #FIFAWWC were viewed nine billion times from June 6 to July 5, making the tournament one of the largest global sporting events of the year,” Twitter reports.
HBO’s "Game of Thrones" took the number-one spot for popular TV shows mentioned on Facebook, but after winning a record-breaking 12 Emmys in September, this is hardly a surprise. But the most talked about film on Facebook, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," hasn't even been released yet.
Leading hashtags on Twitter related to politics and society included #PrayforParis, #BlackLivesMatter, #LoveWins, #RefugeesWelcome, and #IStandWithAhmed. On Facebook, however, news seemed to revolve around US politics with the US presidential election taking the top spot.
“Even a year before US voters go to the polls, the race for the 2016 Presidential Election was a huge point of global conversation in 2015,” Facebook writes. “People turned to Facebook to talk about the issues, discover news and information, and engage with the politicians vying for the presidency.”
President Obama was the most mentioned politician on Facebook, with presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Bernie Sanders also making the top five.
The prominence of the US 2016 presidential campaign is especially noteworthy when considering neither Twitter nor Facebook has an American-dominant user base. Both Twitter and Facebook boast a non-American majority, with 79 and 75 percent of its accounts originating from outside the US, respectively.