Moments of serendipity and just plain awesomeness (if there is such a thing) are what we call #onlyontwitter. These are examples of Tweets that came to life organically on Twitter, and can be appreciated in an instant.
The International Space Station (ISS) captured live images of Sandy as it tore its way up the East Coast of the U.S. As they followed the superstorm from their unique vantage point, astronauts tweeted live images to the world.
We were all immersed as @L2012PoolCam tweeted live images from underneath the water during the London Olympics swimming races. The swimmers dove, raced, flipped and crossed the finish line right in front of us.
The space shuttle Endeavour’s final ride was on the back of modified Boeing 747 to its new home in Los Angeles. The trip included a fly-by through the San Francisco Bay area, and space fans along the way captured and shared the remarkable sight.
Blockbuster movie director James Cameron took the second-ever dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, and became the first person to send a Tweet from 35,755 feet beneath the sea.
The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. live-tweeted the artificial insemination of Mei Xiang, their beloved 13-year-old Giant Panda. Panda fans tracked all of the details, including photos, via the hashtag #pandaAI.
Rock legend Neil Young joined Twitter and connected one by one with followers during a Twitter Q&A. Whether he talked about his latest album or his picks for the World Series, @NeilYoung charmed new and long-time fans.
When “Skyfall,” the latest Bond movie, premiered, author and comedian Charlie Higson translated the original 12 Bond novels into 140 character Tweets. When you’re short of characters, 007 is one less than Bond.
During the Emmys broadcast, host Jimmy Kimmel set up a live joke, encouraging the audience to tweet, “OMG Tracy Morgan passed out on stage.” The line instantly sparked Twitter conversation, and as people tuned in, they saw Kimmel and Morgan play it to the hilt.
Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan tried her hand at a new form: a short story on Twitter. The New Yorker’s fiction desk serialized her story “Black Box” using the 140-character limit as a creative filter, to let the tale unfold in a compelling new way.
Within minutes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announcing that they’re expecting a child, congratulatory tweets began to stream in from across the globe. Throughout the day, #RoyalBaby and related terms trended, and more than a million Tweets reflected keen interest in the next-gen Royal.
Just back from vacation, Arijit Guha started to feel sick. What he thought might be a virus turned out to be much worse: a malignant growth that turned out to be Stage IV colon cancer. After hitting the limit on his insurance, he reached out to his insurer on Twitter to plead his case. Company’s CEO Mark Bertolini responded directly to Arijit, and personally directed the company to help cover the gap.
Breast cancer charity Komen for the Cure sparked a massive protest on Twitter after the group announced in January it would no longer make cancer-screening grants to Planned Parenthood. The outpouring of comments generally supportive of Planned Parenthood filled Twitter streams and sparked a much larger national debate on the issues surrounding the decision.
After a documentary highlighted the deeds of notorious Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony and his group LRA, Twitter users voiced their opposition: #StopKony trended worldwide. The documentary was made by the charity Invisible Children (IC). Besides #StopKony, people expressed their concern about the motives of the filmmaker and IC’s founder.
Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker is known for communicating with residents on Twitter, and even better known for responding quickly. During superstorm Sandy, Booker not only let victims stay at his home; he arranged for a steady supply of a favorite local snack: Hot Pockets.
Known for his public stands against Chinese government repression, artist Ai Weiwei has been placed under house arrest and is not allowed to travel outside China. He has turned to the Internet, and in particular to Twitter, to engage with the world. As he often says, “Twitter is [my] favorite city.”
On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down after 28 years of dividing the city. On November 9, 2012,@9Nov89live captured the historic anniversary via Tweets. German citizens and many others joined the conversation using the hashtag #TwitternWie1989 (“tweeting like in 1989”) to share their very personal memories.
Stationed in Qubair, a small Muslim village in Syria, BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar frequently investigated reports of area uprisings and killings. At one point he didn’t have access to a broadcast camera — just his mobile phone. His compelling reportage took shape via his Tweets.
Tyler Clary gave us a glimpse inside the mind of an Olympian as he live-tweeted the 200m backstroke at the London Games. Given the tape delay from the UK to the U.S., he could tweet his innermost thoughts as they occurred to him during the race.
It was a Tweet from Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman that informed Olympic hopeful Ricky Berens he qualified for the 2012 team, because Phelps would not be competing in the 200m freestyle. The coach’s Tweet gave Berens the nod to replace Phelps.
Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie* tweeted to find somebody for a game of catch at Coors Field. He connected with his Twitter follower Woody Roseland, and the pair played catch. Guthrie tweeted that Roseland, a five-time cancer survivor and amputee, is not only an inspiration to him — but a new friend.
— *He later joined the Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive during a game, suffering an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and a skull fracture. Concerned fans were relieved to see that after surgery, McCarthy was back on Twitter — and more hilarious than ever. So was his wife, Amanda.
When the car ahead of him burst into flames at the Daytona 500, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski brought the action to us by live-tweeting from his car. Luckily, the huge ball of fire didn’t harm the other driver.
Fifteen years ago, boxing champion Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield. What made headlines wasn’t who won — it was that Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear. At long last, this year, they have made peace.
When footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch with a heart attack, British football fans threw aside club rivalries to #PrayforMuamba – a phrase that was tweeted more than 700,000 times in March.
Even after a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Juventus, Chelsea parting company with manager Roberto di Matteo came out of the blue for most fans. The news broke on Twitter with @ChelseaFC’s tweet. Later in the day Chelsea announced its new manager, Rafael Benítez via Twitter.
After being traded to the Houston Rockets, NBA guard James Harden made headlines, and got Twitter buzz. The fans weren’t the only ones caught off guard; players around the league weighed in on the trade as well.