#ThisHappened2020: What India engaged with on Twitter

Twitter India

As the world grappled with a global pandemic, India took to Twitter to stay informed, connected, and entertained while talking about their passions, re-discovering interests, and having diverse conversations. 

Needless to say, #Covid19 dominated this year with people on Twitter, seeking reliable information, connecting with experts, and following what was happening in real-time in India.

The conversations on the service revolved around multiple Coronavirus-related topics, including the critical need to #WearAMask. This year also brought a sense of gratitude for our frontline workers. Tweets expressing being grateful or thankful increased by 20% globally, with particular recognition of doctors (+135%) and teachers (+30%).

Beyond #Covid19, fans paid tribute to #SushantSinghRajput and his career and denounced the alleged rape of a young Dalit woman in #Hathras. People talked about movements taking place across the country, lending their voices to #StudentLivesMatter, #ShaheenBagh, and #FarmersProtest, making those the most Tweeted about people’s movements this year.

In a time where everyone sought to be entertained on the internet, Twitter was the go-to destination for sports chatter with  #IPL2020, #WhistlePodu and #TeamIndia becoming the most Tweeted hashtags in sports.

Movies and TV were no less. Globally, there were more than 7,000 Tweets per minute about TV and movies this year. In India, Hindi film #DilBechara, Tamil film #SooraraiPottru, and Telugu film #SarileruNeekevvaru were the most Tweeted about films to release this year, and people took a minute to laugh at the relatability of #Binod, making it the most Tweeted meme.

People connected virtually and yet, more intimately. From re-discovering interests such as #Photography, #Yoga, and #Poetry, to throwing back to a different time and getting nostalgic with conversations about #Ramayan, #Pokiri, and #Mahabaharat, audiences took to the service giving rise to diverse conversations from the tedious to the unexpected.

Talking about how Indians used Twitter this year, Manish Maheshwari, Managing Director, Twitter India said, “Being the year it has been, conversation on Twitter in 2020 was unique. From the fight against this global pandemic, rejoicing in celebratory moments, standing up for those communities impacted by the pandemic, to bonding over rediscovered shows, interests, and memes, India came together beautifully on Twitter this year. In 2021, while the nation bounces back, we hope to continue giving everyone a voice and provide a service to stay virtually engaged with what’s happening in the country and the world.”

Here is a look at the Golden Tweets of 2020, Tweets that became the most Retweeted, Liked, and Quoted Tweets on the service. From Vijay’s connection with his fans, Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s celebratory news, Ratan Tata’s Tweet pledging support to impacted communities, to Amitabh Bachchan’s Tweet about COVID-19, each of the Golden Tweets reflect what Indians loved talking about in 2020.

#ThisHappened: Golden Tweets of 2020

*Methodology: Identified based on the total number of Retweets / Likes / Quote Tweets by Twitter accounts in India between Jan 1 to Nov 15, 2020. 

Most Retweeted Tweet

Vijay’s selfie with his fans from February 2020, celebrated the strong connection that Tamil stars have with their community on Twitter.

Vijay’s Tweet of a selfie with his fans in Neyveli in February was widely loved and shared by fans of Tamil cinema across the country. Over the years, film fans from Tamil cinema have actively taken to Twitter to show their love and support for their favorite superstars and Tweet about what’s happening in the world of entertainment. 2020 was no different. 

Most Retweeted Tweet in Politics

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tweeted about lighting lamps of hope and good health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his ‘9 PM-9 Mins’ public address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested the people of India to light lamps from the safety of their homes as a symbolic gesture of solidarity towards one other. This Tweet became the most Retweeted Tweet by a politician.

Most Retweeted Tweet in Sports

MS Dhoni expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s letter.

Cricketer MS Dhoni shared his gratitude on Twitter, thanking Prime Minister Modi for sending him a letter that appreciated his achievements and contribution to cricket in India. The Tweet was met with applause from sports fans across the nation making it the most Retweeted Tweet by an athlete. 

Most Retweeted Tweet in Business

Ratan Tata pledged support to communities affected by COVID-19.

Business tycoon Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, announced a commitment of 500 crore rupees on behalf of the company towards protecting and empowering communities affected by the pandemic. The initiative was widely appreciated and served as a reminder to every Indian to stay united in the fight against COVID-19.

Most Liked Tweet

Virat Kohli Tweeted about Anushka Sharma’s pregnancy, giving Indians a reason to celebrate.

Virat Kohli’s Tweet that announced Anushka Sharma’s pregnancy became the ‘Most Liked Tweet of 2020’ as people across India shared their love and wishes with the couple. Anushka Sharma’s Tweet celebrating the same news was also in the top 5 most Liked Tweets of the year.

Most Quoted Tweet

Amitabh Bachchan shared his diagnosis of COVID-19 and spread awareness about the virus.

On testing COVID-19 positive, Amitabh Bachchan took to the service to share his news. He also requested people who had been in close proximity to him to get tested, spreading awareness about the virus and shared measures to be taken in case of exposure. Those that Quote-Tweeted his Tweet wished him a speedy recovery and encouraged people to stay safe, wash their hands, and wear their masks. 

#ThisHappened: Top Conversations of 2020

Hashtags take conversations across timelines. These were the most Tweeted Hashtags across different interest areas in 2020.

*Methodology: Ranked by number of total Tweets by unique authors using this hashtag on Twitter in India from Jan 1 to Nov 15, 2020.

Current Affairs and People’s Movements

Also Read: #SSThrowback2020: A year of Fleets, Quote Tweets, K-pop, Safety & Updates on Twitter

Most Tweeted about current affairs topics

  • #Covid19: Unsurprisingly the most Tweeted current affairs hashtag this year was #Covid19. People used the hashtag to seek reliable information, connect with healthcare experts and agencies, and follow what was happening in real-time. Globally, Twitter launched a COVID-19 search prompt and a dedicated event page that shared information related to the virus from credible sources such as the Ministry of Health and Welfare of India and the World Health Organisation. Within the larger conversation about COVID-19, hashtags used prominently included #Coronavirus, #JantaCurfew as well as those that encouraged people to #WearAMask, #StayHomeStaySafe, and maintain #SocialDistancing. Other popular topics of conversation included the adverse impact on migrant workers as well as gratitude for healthcare professionals across the country. 
  • #SushantSinghRajput: The unexpected demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput became one of the biggest topics of conversation in India this year. Public figures and fans took to the service to express grief, pay tribute to his career, share views about the entertainment industry, and discuss developments around the investigation into his passing. In July 2020, fans celebrated the late actor by sharing love for his last film #DilBechara that also became the most talked-about film on Twitter in 2020. 
  • #Hathras: The alleged rape and death of a young Dalit woman in Hathras became a topic of conversation across the country. People Tweeted their perspectives and demanded justice using the hashtag #DalitLivesMatter.

Most Tweeted about people’s movements

  • #StudentLivesMatter: The conversation around the changing schedules of examinations became the most Tweeted about movement on the service, with the hashtag #SpeakUpForSSCRailwayStudents gaining particular momentum.  
  • #ShaheenBagh: People across India Tweeted to share their support and criticism about the protests when thousands of women camped out at a site in South Delhi. Speeches, lectures, and poetry readings held at the protest ground every day were also talked about on the service.
  • #FarmersProtest: Conversations on Twitter ranged from support of the new farm bill to discussions around the impact this would have on farmers’ livelihoods with the hashtag #IStandWithIndianFarmers. 

Sports & Movies

Most Tweeted sports hashtags:

  • #IPL2020: Twitter was abuzz with Tweets across the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League  (IPL) as the much-anticipated sports season took place later in the year than usual. Cricket enthusiasts celebrated and connected with each other on Twitter, making #IPL2020 the most Tweeted hashtag in sports.  
  • #WhistlePodu: The MS Dhoni-led team Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) became the most Tweeted about team in #IPL2020, and subsequently their team hashtag #WhistlePodu became  the second-most Tweeted hashtag in sports this year.
  • #TeamIndia: Before the pandemic, the stellar performance of the Indian Women’s cricket team at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup created cheerful conversations and strong momentum on, and off the field. 

Most Tweeted movies hashtags: These were the most Tweeted Indian movies that released in 2020

  • #DilBechara: Fans of the late Sushant Singh Rajput Tweeted to express their love for the actor and appreciate his last on-screen performance in the Hindi film Dil Bechara. 
  • #SooraraiPottru: Tamil fans declared the movie a masterpiece on Twitter while praising the performances of lead actors Suriya and Aparna Balamurali.
  • #SarileruNeekevvaru: Starring Mahesh Babu, Rashmika Mandanna, and Vijayashanti, Sarileru Neekevvaru was the most talked-about Telugu film of the year and the third most talked-about film overall. 

Nostalgia and Interests

Most Tweeted hashtags related to nostalgia 

  • #Ramayan: As Ramayan made a comeback on DD National amid the nationwide lockdown, fans celebrated the show sharing memes and memories related to their childhood experiences of watching the show.
  • #Pokiri: Fans celebrated the 14th anniversary of the blockbuster Telugu film ‘Pokiri’ this year, and celebrated the star of the movie, Mahesh Babu.
  • #Mahabharat: With the re-run of Mahabharat on DD National, viewers across the country reminisced about their memories of the show and re-lived some of its iconic scenes together. 

Most Tweeted about interests

  • #Photography: Professional photographers, as well as budding shutterbugs, Tweeted their beautiful images on the service. Enthusiasts turned Twitter timelines into a vibrant, virtual exhibition!
  • #Yoga: As the nation coped with staying at home and staying healthy, conversations about yoga spiked on the service. From basic wellness asanas to rigorous physical exercise, people came online to get fit. Popular voices from entertainment, sports, and other fields Tweeted to strengthen the conversation around yoga.
  • #Poetry: Inspirational poetry became a finger tap away on Twitter and took off this year thanks in part to the brevity of the medium. Indians rediscovered their love for poetry and shared rhymes on their timelines while attempting to cope with the lockdown. 

Most Tweeted meme

Twitter is fun and memes are at the heart of its humor. A mention of “Binod” in a video by Slayy Point set off the meme, which took over the service.

Creators, brands, and even the police jumped in on the conversation, changing their profile names and Tweeting videos and pictures. There was a lot of conversation about “Who is Binod?”, but it was clear #Binod was everywhere, securing its spot as the most Tweeted meme on Twitter in India this year. 

Most Tweeted emojis  

When words fall short, people turn to emojis. Here is the list of the most Tweeted emojis on Twitter in India this year.