In 2021, connection was more important than it’s ever been. Whether it was people connecting with strangers on Twitter during the COVID-19 second wave in India and turning the service into a real-time helpline, or forging friendships and announcing them to the world through hashtags like #WeMetOnTwitter. From #Tokyo2020 to #CricketTwitter, people came to the service to watch sports together, and have a conversation in real-time. People also connected in new ways – Twitter Spaces introduced a refreshing new format to hear from and speak with voices from around the world. Spaces encouraged and unlocked real, open conversations on Twitter with an authenticity, nuance, depth and power only the human voice can bring. Through the highs and lows this year, people turned to Twitter to find solace in conversation. As we wrap up 2021, here’s a look at the voices, trends and moments that dominated Twitter in India.
#OnlyOnTwitter: Golden Tweets of 2021
*Methodology: Ranked by number of Retweets/Likes by Twitter accounts in India between Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2021
Most Retweeted Tweet: Pat Cummins’ (@patcummins30) Tweet about his donation to COVID relief in India
As the second COVID-19 wave hit India, people from across the world came forward to support the country. Among them was Australian cricketer Pat Cummins (@patcummins30), who made a donation towards COVID relief in India, and took to Twitter to encourage others to do the same. The generosity of the Tweet received gratitude from people all over the country, making this the most Retweeted Tweet in India in 2021.
This Tweet was also the most Quote Tweeted this year.
*Methodology: Ranked by number of total authors on Twitter in India between Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2021
Most Liked Tweet: Virat Kohli’s (@imVkohli) Tweet announcing the birth of his daughter
Earlier this year, cricketer Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) and his wife, actor Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) welcomed their first child. Kohli’s Tweet announcing the arrival of their daughter was ecstatically received by the couple’s fans, and all of India, making it the most Liked Tweet of 2021. Last year, Virat Kohli’s (@imVkohli) Tweet announcing Anushka Sharma’s pregnancy became the ‘Most Liked Tweet of 2020’.
Top Tweets in Government
Most Retweeted Tweet in Government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s (@narendramodi) Tweet sharing a picture of him getting his first COVID-19 vaccine
As people continued to take to Twitter to stay informed about vaccination efforts and talk about their experiences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s (@narendramodi) Tweet about him getting his first vaccine dose became the most Retweeted Tweet of the year. The Tweet also expressed gratitude to doctors, scientists and medical workers for their undeterred contribution towards the COVID-19 battle.
Most Liked Tweet in Government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s (@narendramodi) Tweet congratulating #TeamIndia for their historic test win against Australia at the Gabba
The Indian cricket team started the year with one of the most historic victories in the history of Indian Cricket, defeating Australia at the Gabba and stirring conversations across the world – and on Twitter. Fans of the Indian Cricket team applauded and hailed the team the world over. Prime Minister Modi (@narendramodi) also took to the service to applaud the team.
Top Tweets in Business
Most Retweeted Tweet in Business: Ratan Tata’s (@RNTata2000) Tweet celebrating Tata Son’s Air India win
This October, the Tata Group welcomed back Air India into its fold – after nearly seventy years of the airlines being state-owned. Expressing his delight at the development, Ratan Tata (@RNTata2000), Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Tweeted a heartfelt note saying, “Welcome back, Air India”, with an iconic picture of the early Air India planes. Just like the news, the Tweet generated conversations on Twitter, becoming the most Retweeted Tweet in business.
This Tweet was also the most Liked Tweet in business this year.
Top Tweets in Entertainment
Most Retweeted Tweet in entertainment: Vijay’s (@actorvijay) Tweet unveiling the first look of #Beast
Entertainment fans, especially Tamil speaking audiences, make for some of the most passionate audiences on Twitter. This popularity was clear when Vijay (@actorvijay) Tweeted the first look of his much-awaited movie #Beast and fans left no stone unturned in showcasing their excitement. The actor’s popularity made this Tweet the most Retweeted one in entertainment.
This was also the most Liked Tweet in entertainment in 2021.
Top Tweets in Sports
Most Retweeted and Liked Tweet in sports: Virat Kohli’s (@imVkohli) appreciation Tweet for M.S Dhoni’s (@msdhoni) match-winning play during the IPL
MS Dhoni (@msdhoni) had #CricketTwitter buzzing with his final-over masterstroke against Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) that carried Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) into the season’s semi-finals. Among the awe-struck fans was Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) – India’s cricket captain himself, who hailed his contemporary by calling him ‘King’ in an all-hearts appreciation Tweet. This Tweet was the most Retweeted Tweet in sports this year.
This was also the most Liked Tweet in sports in 2021.
Most Tweeted hashtags
*Methodology: Ranked by number of total authors on Twitter in India between Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2021
Conversations on Twitter are tied together by hashtags (#s). When people Tweet with a hashtag, they become a part of the conversation. These were the most Tweeted hashtags on Twitter in India in 2021.
- #Covid19: Right in the early months of 2021, India was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 – leaving people distraught. As citizens took to Twitter in search of information, they found help. People on the service volunteered to find resources, mobilise help and connect people with leads for #oxygen, hospital beds and medical supplies. While the second wave inspired an unprecedented movement of humanity on Twitter, the beginning of vaccination drives also brought a ray of hope, and people continued to stay connected on Twitter with #Covid19.
- #FarmersProtest: Conversations around the #FarmersProtest continued from 2020 into 2021. Politicians, celebrities, citizens and protesting farmers took to Twitter alike to share and exchange opinions, making it one of the most Tweeted hashtags in India this year.
- #TeamIndia: 2021 was a busy year for Indian sport – and so was it for the sports community on Twitter. From the men’s cricket team’s historic win at the Gabba to an unprecedented run at the Olympics and the Paralympics – sports fans on Twitter cheered on for #TeamIndia across games, matches and tournaments – turning Twitter into a virtual stadium that was always roaring their support for our athletes.
- #Tokyo2020: With #TeamIndia finishing at a total tally of seven medals at the Olympics and 19 medals at the Paralympics, the #Tokyo2020 Games were all the talk on Twitter. People took to the service to support their favourite athletes at the Games and made sure to celebrate each of India’s wins across the season.
- #IPL2021: One of the most awaited events of one of India’s favourite sports – the return of the #IPL2021 was special. After being called-off midway due to COVID-19 interruptions, #CricketTwitter waited with bated breath for the second leg in October – turning the IPL from a month-long event to a six-month-long one. Unsurprisingly, this made it one of the top conversations of the year in India.
- #IndVEng: India’s rollercoaster-ride at the five-test series on English grounds this year had Indian sports fans at the edge of their seats and glued to Twitter. While the series did not culminate, Shardul Thakur (@imshard) and Rishabh Pant’s (@RishabhPant17) partnership at the Oval led to #TeamIndia winning two matches, giving Indian fans another reason to celebrate on Twitter.
- #Diwali: Diwali isn’t just a widely celebrated festival, it is also one of the most talked-about events on Twitter. People took to the service to talk about their festive preparations, engaged with brands and indulged in festive shopping, and share their appreciation and love for friends and families, making #Diwali is one of the biggest conversations of the year.
- #Master: Tamil cinema continued to dominate entertainment conversations on Twitter. Anticipation of the film #Master alone made it one of the most talked-about movies in 2020, and the trend continued with its release in 2021. The Vijay (@actorvijay) starrer received massive love from fans on Twitter once again this year, cementing its position on the list of the most Tweeted hashtags of 2021.
- #Bitcoin: A conversation that gained momentum on Twitter this year was around cryptocurrency and digital assets. Twitter has become the home for crypto conversation and #Bitcoin made it to the list of most popular conversations of the year.
- #PermissionToDance: This song by South Korean boy band BTS (@BTS_twt) experienced immediate love from loyal fans. K-pop is becoming an increasingly popular music genre on the service, and is ruling hearts and charts all over the world including India.
In addition to the most Tweeted hashtags, several other conversations across categories kept people engaged and Tweeting.
Most Tweeted hashtags – Current Affairs
Foreseeably, #Covid19 was the most Tweeted hashtag in the current affairs category this year. The Taliban’s takeover of #Afghanistan also kept Indians talking on Twitter, while young job aspirants demanded the Staff Selection Commission to release #CGL19marks. Conversations expressing pride and gratitude for our soldiers surfaced through the year with #IndianArmy, and the flash floods in #Uttarakhand also had people Tweeting in support, expressing concerns and sharing updates about the State.
Most Tweeted hashtags – Culture
With Twitter being a reflection of what’s happening in the world, India’s cultural diversity was mirrored in Twitter conversations too. With #Diwali being one of the top conversations of the year, #EidMubarak became the second most Tweeted hashtag in the culture category, followed by conversations around #RepublicDay and #IndependenceDay. #InternationalWomensDay also saw people engaging in conversations around equal rights for women, with many professionals, women leaders and organisations hosting discussions to engage a conversation with women on Twitter.
Most Tweeted about Digital Assets
As noted by #Bitcoin’s entry into the most Tweeted hashtags this year, people on Twitter in India engaged extensively in conversations around digital assets and cryptocurrencies. From blockchain networks like #BSC (Binance Smart Chain) to digital assets like #NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), people were keen to learn about decentralised finance and several new digital concepts this year.
Most Tweeted Emojis of 2021
*Methodology: Ranked by number of total authors in India between Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2021
While India had a lot to talk about, there were times when words weren’t enough. India Tweeted with emojis too this year.
Join in on the #OnlyOnTwitter conversation as Twitter accounts around the world spotlight the top Twitter moments from 2021.