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Video: Sweet! 2010’s most influential tweets

  1. Transcript of: Sweet! 2010’s most influential tweets

    MATT LAUER, co-host: You know, in 2010 Twitter became one of the go-to social networking sites for everyone from celebrities to politicians and everyday people.

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: Twenty-five billion tweets have been sent this year alone, but which ones truly hit home? Here to reveal some of the most powerful tweets of 2010 is Biz Stone , co-founder of Twitter . He is with us exclusively. Biz , good morning to you.

    ANN CURRY, anchor: Good morning.

    VIEIRA: We're talking billions of tweets .

    Mr. BIZ STONE (Co-Founder of Twitter): Thanks for having me. Yes.

    VIEIRA: How do you narrow it down to the 10 most powerful?

    Mr. STONE: Well, you print them out and you just read them all. No. No, the...

    LAUER: You'd still be on 2005 if that were...

    Mr. STONE: No, we tried to find -- you know, we put a group together and we curated thousands of tweets , and we tried to find a nice cross section between tweets that really showed the power of an information network and tweets that showcased sort of the power of humanity.


    LAUER: Let's go through a few of them quickly. At number six you've got the royal family's tweet announcing Prince William and Kate Middleton 's engagement.

    Mr. STONE: Right.

    LAUER: They tweeted, " The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton ." You like that one.

    Mr. STONE: You know, I was in London when they did that, and so it just blew up. Every -- that's all everyone could talk about was this engagement.


    Mr. STONE: And I think it's probably still going on.

    VIEIRA: Oh, absolutely. We're going to be talking about it in another 15 minutes or so.

    LAUER: Yeah, for the next year.

    VIEIRA: Number four tweet came in the wake of the gulf oil spill, a parody account posing as BP 's official Twitter account.

    Mr. STONE: Yeah.

    VIEIRA: It made fun of the company's public image problems. The tweet read, "Catastrophe is a strong word, let's all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy."

    Mr. STONE: Yeah.

    VIEIRA: Top trending topic on Twitter this year, the oil spill.

    Mr. STONE: Right. You know, obviously it was a big deal. Everyone was really angry. They were really worried. And it was just very interesting that a parody account sort of became the voice of this whole thing.

    LAUER: We're going to move all the way to number one. Your pick for the most powerful tweet of 2010 comes from this young lady to my left, our own Ann Curry .

    CURRY: Big surprise.

    Mr. STONE: Ann Curry .

    LAUER: While covering the earthquake in Haiti , Ann tweeted this message to

    the US Air Force: "Find a way to let Doctors Without Borders planes land in Haiti ." Made a huge difference.

    Mr. STONE: Yeah.

    CURRY: Well, what really made a difference is that people retweeted. So many people out there sent -- retweeted this message out, and so they really kind of made sure that the US Air Force heard it. And they in fact did let planes land.

    Mr. STONE: Yeah.

    CURRY: Which is amazing.

    Mr. STONE: Yeah.

    VIEIRA: But shows the power of just a few words.

    LAUER: Of a single tweet.

    CURRY: It's in real time.

    Mr. STONE: Right. One tweet can get retweeted so many times that, you know, Ann was able to sort of virtually wave in that Doctors Without Borders plane and get them landed within an hour.

    VIEIRA: Wow.

    LAUER: You know, first of all...

    VIEIRA: Yeah.

    LAUER: ...it's a big honor for you.

    VIEIRA: Absolutely.

    LAUER: Congratulations.

    CURRY: Yeah, it is. Thanks.

    LAUER: And, Biz , how many billions of tweets do you expect this year?

    Mr. STONE: Oh, many. Many, many more.

Image: 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice & Human Rights Ripple Of Hope Awards Dinner
Michael Loccisano  /  Getty Images
TODAY staff
updated 12/14/2010 8:31:32 AM ET 2010-12-14T13:31:32

Twitter announced its list of the Top 10 most powerful tweets of the year on Tuesday, and TODAY show anchor Ann Curry’s 50-character message imploring the Air Force to allow physicians to land in Haiti to administer aid to the injured and dying came in No. 1.

Other top tweets of 2010 announced by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone live on TODAY included one from the president of Russia just saying hello to the world; a disabled triathlete’s plea for help; the announcement of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton, and a parody about BP’s response to the Gulf Oil spill.

“We tried to find a nice cross-section between tweets that really show the power of an information network and tweets that show taste,” Stone told Curry and TODAY co-anchors Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira.

    1. Ann Curry’s Haiti tweet ranked most powerful of 2010
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    3. ‘Glee’ effect? Baby name trends of 2010 reflect TV love
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    6. MSN: Flashback 2010

Ann’s No. 1
In the wake of the Haiti earthquake last January, the U.S. military took control of Haiti’s airfield. A Doctors Without Borders plane carrying much-needed supplies and medical aid wasn’t given clearance to land — depriving the wounded of help from its team of physicians. Jason Cone, the organization’s communications director, wasn’t able to get in contact with Pentagon officials to let them know the problem — so he tweeted about the issue. Curry saw the tweet and in turn, tweeted the request asking the military to let the plane land.

“@usairforce find a way to let Doctors without Borders planes land in Haiti: http://bit.ly/8hYZOKTHE most effective at this,” Curry tweeted.

“When I came back and saw [Cone's] tweet that Doctors Without Borders couldn’t land their plane, I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ The idea that they could not land was just unacceptable, in my view, in terms of saving lives,” Curry explained during a Social Media Week panel in New York City in February.

Related: Top YouTube videos of 2010

A follower passed along the official handle of the U.S. Air Force via Twitter. Curry, along with several followers who retweeted her message to @USAForce, was able to convince military leaders to allow Doctors Without Borders in an hour later.

“It was amazing to see how many good Samaritans then retweeted this information to make sure @USAirForce heard it,” Curry recalled. “What a feeling when the charity’s planes were allowed to land.”

“One tweet can get retweeted so many times that Ann was basically able to wave in that Doctors Without Borders plane,” Stone agreed Tuesday on TODAY.

Video: Sweet! 2010’s most influential tweets (on this page)
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At the Social Media Week event, Curry added that the experience made her redefine her role as a journalist — the dilemma being whether or not she should get involved. But ultimately, she decided she needed to help any way she could.

“The bottom line is that Twitter helped save lives,” said Curry, whose Twitter stream has more than a million followers. “Isn’t that incredible?”

The Haiti earthquake was No. 4 among Twitter trends in 2010.

Coming in after Curry's tweet, the Top 10 tweets of 2010 were:

2. Welcome to the club
When Russia’s president joined Twitter, he simply declared, “Hello everyone! I’m on Twitter, and this is my first tweet.” The White House immediately reached out to welcome him to the Twitterverse. “Red phones no longer required,” President Obama tweeted.

3. Send help!
A gravely injured triathlete who crashed her bicycle in a wooded area of Connecticut that had no cell phone reception tweeted her way to rescue, probably saving her own life. “I’ve had a serious injury and NEED Help! Can someone please call Winding Trails in Farmington, CT tell them I’m stuck bike crash in woods.”

4. Whoopsie daisy
After the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 and causing one of the largest oil spills in history, it was a parody account, not BP’s official Twitter account, that defined the discussion. “Catastrophe is a strong word, let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy,” the tweet said. “Gulf Oil Spill” was the No. 1 trend on Twitter in 2010.

Related: Top baby names of 2010

5. Countrymen, we have a problem
In late September, civil unrest in Ecuador increased dramatically after a new law cut benefits for public servants. President Rafael Correa accused opposition and military forces of a coup attempt and tweeted “Gobierno declara estado de Excepción” — “Government has declared a state of emergency.”Leaders across Latin America and the world tweeted in response to show their support for the people of Ecuador.

6. Making it official
In a royal first, Clarence House, the Prince of Wales’ private office, created a Twitter account to announce Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton. “The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton,” the simple tweet announced. “I was in London when they did that, and it just blew up,” Biz Stone recalled Tuesday on TODAY.

7. The closing bell
When the CEO of one of the most high-profile technology companies in the world announced he was stepping down, he kept his resignation letter to 140 characters. Jonathan Schwartz left Sun Microsystems with this simple message: “Today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a #haiku. Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more.”

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8. Hey, we tried
Twitter was a powerful campaign tool during the 2010 U.S. midterm elections, and election night results often broke first on Twitter. Demonstrating how quickly the world of political communications is changing, Idaho incumbent Walt Minnick’s campaign manager issued a concession tweet.Congratulations to Raul Labrador on a hard-earned win, and best of luck as Idaho’s next Congressman.”

9. Gola! Gola!
The FIFA World Cup final represented the largest period of sustained activity for an event in Twitter’s history: During the final game, people from 172 countries tweeted in 27 different languages. Twitter put fans in direct touch with teams, players and commentators.

10. Half-a--ed, but funny
After his departure from “The Tonight Show,” Conan O’Brien used Twitter to announce that he was hitting the road for a two-month-long comedy tour called “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television.” Fans jumped at the chance to see Conan live: Shows were almost sold out in a matter of hours. “Hey Internet: I’m headed to your town on a half-a--ed comedy & music tour. Go to http://TeamCoco.com for tix. I repeat: It’s half-a--ed.”

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