While Twitter Inc. is typically reluctant to discuss its most straight-up retweeted posts (with good reason), it broke with tradition this year and released a list of the top 10 global retweets – a list that, we’re happy to report, included three tweets from former U.S. president Barack Obama and none by his tweet-happy successor.

One of Obama’s tweets cracked the top five in Canada too, alongside a message from his former best political buddy Justin Trudeau and, of course, what became the most retweeted request of all time. Read on.

In a year at least partly defined by its natural disasters (Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey; an earthquake in Mexico City; monsoon flooding in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal; and California’s wildfires, to name six), a tweet raising money for aid proved unsurprisingly popular, with Penn State’s promise to raise money for Houston-based victims of Hurricane Harvey capturing more Canadian hearts than all but four other tweets in 2017.

American History is unlikely to look kindly on August 12, 2017, when white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, Ku Kux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and other specimens of the so-called “alt-right” converged on Charlottesville, Va. to protest the removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee for what they called the “Unite the Right rally” – a gathering that ended with the death of protester Heather Heyer and which U.S. president Donald Trump took long enough to criticize that members of his American Manufacturing Council, including Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, began quitting in protest.

All of which likely contributed to millions of users, including many Canadians, retweeting the response of Trump’s predecessor instead.

Though not without its critics, Bell Canada’s annual mental health awareness campaign continues to be one of the most popular in Canada, with #BellLetsTalk being tweeted, posted to Instagram, or sent from a Bell mobile device 131,705,010 times this year, according to the company. With each hashtag adding five cents to the final tally, Bell ultimately donated $6.5 million to mental health initiatives this year.

And one of the most popular sources happened to come from American comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Like Obama’s viral tweet, Trudeau’s contribution to Canada’s favourite tweets of 2017 is all about timing, with Canada’s prime minister broadcasting this message on the same day that Donald Trump enacted a controversial executive order banning travellers – including refugees – from six Muslim-majority nations.

It’s doubtful that anyone on Wendy’s marketing team could have designed an ad campaign as memorable or successful as #NuggsForCarter, a Las Vegas kid’s naked request for free chicken nuggets which, thanks to the support of more than 3.6 million Twitter users (including many of the tech industry’s biggest players), ultimately became the most retweeted tweet of all time.


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Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.