The influence, functionality and overall fascination with the micro-blogging site Twitter, has recently been a point of debate. Once, the power of this mighty little bird was undisputed in popular culture. But, after a lot of noise on free speech and a tumultuous change in leadership in 2022, Twitter has undergone some significant changes. According to The New Yorker, Twitter earned 20 times less revenue than Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta in 2021. This said, one can never discount the kind of cultural place this micro-blogging site holds for people across the globe. Most liked tweets still hold relevance in the marketing world to a huge extent.
And, the latest tweets by Greta Thunberg are a testament to this statement. This climate activist broke the internet by wittily shutting down insensitive and hateful statements of far-right-leaning Andrew Tate in just two tweets, which made history for more than one reason. What followed next was the arrest of Tate in Romania based on charges of human trafficking, rape and organised crime. This is a brilliant case where this micro-blogging site — ironically owned by yet another right-leaning businessman Elon Musk who got Tate back on the platform after he was banned for his misogynistic tendencies — was used to take down a bully and a criminal.
Thunberg’s ultimate Twitter burn after Tate’s insensitive tweet
It started after Tate tagged Thunberg on Twitter with a list of his luxury cars and their respective carbon emissions. He wanted her email address so that he could mail her a complete list of all the vehicles he owns and their possible pollution violations. Her viral reply to this insensitive statement was iconic.
yes, please do enlighten me. email me at email@example.com https://t.co/V8geeVvEvg
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 28, 2022
When Tate was arrested by the Romania Police on allegations of child trafficking and sexual assault, Greta’s response was somehow even better than her original diss.
this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 30, 2022
Both of Thunberg’s tweets are currently on the list of the most-liked tweets of all time, which isn’t surprising given that they have clocked in 3.9 million and 3.5 million likes, respectively. So let’s take a closer look at this illustrative list that now features two new entrants thanks to Greta Thunberg.
Here are some of the most-liked tweets of all time
The tweet announcing Chadwick Boseman’s death
One of the saddest yet most popular tweets in recent times, this particular statement from the Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s family announcing his death on 28 August 2020, from his Twitter handle, caused the internet to explode. The tweet has over 7 million likes and over a million retweets.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
Elon Musk’s Coke in Coca-Cola quip
One of the world’s richest men, Musk, after buying Twitter for a whopping USD 44 billion, joked on 22 April 2022, that he would be acquiring the soft drink brand Coca-Cola and bringing back its illegal original recipe of adding cocaine to the fizzy drink. Twitter users gave this one over 4.7 million likes and around 672k retweets.
Next I’m buying Coca-Cola to put the cocaine back in
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 28, 2022
Barack Obama quotes Nelson Mandela after the 2017 Charlottesville attack
Former President of the US, Obama, touched many hearts after he quoted Nelson Mandela from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, to condemn racism against blacks. Obama tweeted this on 13 August 2017, along with a heartwarming picture of his visit to a daycare in Maryland. This tweet garnered over 4 million likes and around 1 million retweets.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
Joe Biden’s victory tweet
“It’s a new day in America.” This statement says it all. Iconic in every sense, it marked the beginning of Biden’s tenure as the 46th president of the US on 20 January 2021. The tweet got over 3.8 million likes and around 459k retweets.
It’s a new day in America.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 20, 2021
Obama’s tribute to Kobe Bryant
Basketball legend Bryant’s tragic death along with his daughter Gigi in a helicopter crash is one of the saddest events in the life of a Lakers fan. Obama turned to Twitter to express his grief over this unfortunate event, and his sentiment resonated with millions worldwide. This tweet, made on 26 January 2020, got over 3.6 million likes and over 594k retweets.
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
Andy Milonakis’s quirky congratulatory message on the launch of a new spacecraft
This comedian broke Twitter on May 30, 2020, with a snarky tweet congratulating the astronauts of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 spacecraft by SpaceX. This tweet was received well with over 3.4 million likes and over 698k retweets, in the wake of the ongoing protests owing to the death of George Floyd amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Congratulations to the Astronauts that left Earth today. Good choice
— Andy Milonakis (@andymilonakis) May 30, 2020
BTS Jungkook’s blond hair debut
Another instance of the power of K-pop and BTS, in particular, was when just a selfie from one of its members, Jungkook, made Twitter go crazy on 25 January 2021. The ARMY was excited to see his new blond hair avatar and hence this famous selfie was the second most-liked tweet of 2021 with over 3.1 million likes and over 933k retweets.
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) January 25, 2021
“Never Not” from BTS
BTS member Jungkook has been one of the most popular music talents in the world and this particular tweet where he is singing the “Never Not” song from BTS just proves it. Twitter named it the second most popular tweet of 2020 as it got over 3.1 million likes and around 1.5 million retweets. This video was tweeted on 2 May 2020.
Never Not 💜 pic.twitter.com/Ag9oUTJvrN
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) May 2, 2020
Twitter’s sassy jibe on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp
Rounding off this list, here is a record-breaking tweet from the micro-blogging site’s team itself, when all the Meta services (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) were not to be accessed for a couple of hours on 4 October 2021, and so everybody including Twitter had a field day. The birdie chirped, “Hello literally everyone”. What followed was a brand war of sorts. The tweet received over 3.1 million likes and around 555k retweets.
hello literally everyone
— Twitter (@Twitter) October 4, 2021
Also, here are a couple of notable mentions from a few years ago:
One Direction band member Louis Tomlinson went public with his declaration of bromance for Harry Styles in 2011, surpassing 2.6 million retweets.
Always in my heart @Harry_Styles . Yours sincerely, Louis
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) October 2, 2011
Another selfie that created quite the right waves all over the globe was the ‘Best photo ever’ by Ellen DeGeneres. This star-studded Oscar selfie of 2014 has Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper in one frame along with other biggies. The caption of this iconic photo reads, “If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever.” This snap got around 2.8 million retweets.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@EllenDeGeneres) March 3, 2014
Twitter has come a long way since its first tweet on 22 May 2006 by its co-founder Jack Dorsey. Back then Twitter was known as Twttr sans the vowels. After a fresh rebrand within a year of its launch, the micro-blogging site grew from strength to strength from its inception up until 2017, as new features were added in a bit to increase its popularity.
Even though there is an allure of other social media sites besides Twitter, and now marketing strategies by brands are not solely based on how many likes or retweets their campaigns are getting, the relevance of this mighty blue bird can never ebb, at least the recent event involving Thunberg and Tate prove that.
(Main image credit:@Chadwick Boseman/Twitter, @Greta Thunberg/Instagram; Featured image credit: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash)