The year on Twitter in Turkey

The year on Twitter in Turkey

Emrah Güler
The year on Twitter in Turkey Among Time magazine’s year-end lists is one that summarizes the global influence of Twitter in making and shaping conversations, Top 10 Hashtags That Started a Conversation. Number eight on the list is an all too familiar hashtag for Twitter’s Turkish users, and one that is undoubtedly a milestone for Twitter’s popular presence in Turkey.

“In March, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plan to block Twitter, following allegations of corruption against him and his government, backfired,” wrote the magazine under the hashtag #TwitterisBlockedinTurkey. While the block was lifted in April after a ruling by the Constitutional Court, the Twitter community had a good knowledge of what was going on in Turkey.

“It wasn’t just the international community who was tweeting about Erdoğan’s bold move,” continued the article. “Many social media users within Turkey were also taking to Twitter, circumventing Erdoğan’s block by logging in via proxy servers or sending tweets via text message, and using the hashtag to flaunt their defiance.” Other accompanying hashtags were #ErdoğanBlocksTwitter, #TurkeyBlockedTwitter and #OccupyTwitter.

Football dominates the conversations

Twitter was a major source of political news in Turkey throughout 2014. The presidential elections, Erdoğan’s subsequent election to the presidency, and the handover of the Prime Ministry to Ahmet Davutoğlu, Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey were some of the year’s events that generated new hashtags and trending topics.

Turkish people might love venting and talking about politics on Twitter, but we found out last year that one thing they love talking about even more is sports. The top three conversations on Twitter were all about sports. The World Cup proved to be a major topic of conversation across the world, with a record 672 million tweets sent throughout its run over a month.

The historic football match between Germany and Brazil in the semifinals on July 8, in which Germany crushed its opponent 7-1, was the most tweeted event of 2014 in Turkey. The second most talked about event on Twitter was another football match, this time Turkey as one of its actors: The UEFA European Qualifier match for 2016 on Oct. 10 between Turkey and Czech Republic at home, with the Czech Republic’s victory of 2-1. The third most tweeted event was yet another football match, this time between two Turkish teams, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray on Aug. 25. 2014 was the year Twitter proved to be the ideal outlet to watch sports.

Top 5 Twitter accounts with most followers

The top 30 Twitter accounts with the most followers in Turkey include entertainers, politicians, sports clubs, a few journalists, and one humor magazine. However, there is not a single brand among the list. Here is a look at the top five.

1. Cem Yılmaz @CMYLMZ: Even though the all-around entertainer takes the number 1 spot with nearly 8 million followers, Yılmaz is known to be a shy tweeter. Half of the 108 tweets have been sent in the last two months, coinciding with the new release “The Water Diviner,” in which he co-stars with Russell Crowe.

2. Abdullah Gül @cbabdullahgul: Former President Abdullah Gül seems to be fine continuing with the “cb” preceding his name in his Twitter account, the initials for President. He is one of the few politicians in tune with the dynamics of social media, not refraining from using an informal tone. In fact, his last tweets to his 5.5 million followers were about his fishing expedition in Istanbul.

3. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan @RT_erdogan: President Erdoğan’s Twitter account is the ideal example of how not to use Twitter. His tone is stiff and distant, his tweets to his 5.2 followers are mere sentences from press releases or speeches to his constituents.

4. Ata Demirer @atademirer: Comedian Ata Demirer’s tweets are far from funny, ironic, satirical, or for that matter, they could hardly be called tweets. Having connected his Instagram account to Twitter, Demirer is economic in his 140 characters. Yet, he has nearly 5 million followers.

5. Galatasaray @GalatasaraySK: The sports club, most popular for his football team, is the only account among the top 10 that knows the dynamics of Twitter. The nearly 40 million tweets to more than 4.5 million followers share matches live, runs campaigns and embrace hashtags. A truly satisfying account for sports aficionados.

Ellen’s selfie breaks retweet record

When last year’s Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres gathered A-listers, including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Lawrence, live on TV for the most famous selfie in history, little did she know that she would break a world record, as well as temporarily crash Twitter.

Her now-famous tweet, “If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars,” referring to the photographer Bradley Cooper and a possible inclusion of other A-listers like Liza Minnelli into the photo, has now been retweeted more than 3.3 million times. Taking selfies, since then, has become a part of cultural zeitgeist defined by social media. The Turkish translation “özçekim” has been officially accepted as a legitimate word, even though selfie continues to be the preferred word in Turkish.

The year on Twitter in Turkey