For the first time, the most-shared tweet of a single year came from someone in a boy band. Harry Styles’ tweet of gratitude to fans after word came out that Zayn Malik was leaving One Direction, the immensely popular boy band that Styles is part of, was shared on Twitter -- or, to use the parlance of the service, retweeted -- more than 714,000 times in 2015, making it one of the most popular messages ever published on the social media platform.
All the love as always. H
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) March 26, 2015
Styles’s tweet became one of the most popular messages ever published on the social media platform. Twitter, which has been publicly releasing data about its most popular tweets of the year since 2010, announced the news Monday.
As the most-shared tweet of the year, Styles’s message joins an eclectic group, including a star-studded selfie taken by Ellen DeGeneres while she was hosting the Academy Awards, a tweet from Barack Obama about his re-election, and a message tweeted by Stephen Colbert in response to BP’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
in honor of oil-soaked birds, 'tweets' are now 'gurgles. http://bit.ly/cIhZNf
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) June 17, 2010
That the year's top tweet comes from a musician is not surprising. Seven of the top 10 most popular accounts on the service belong to musicians, and while many of their impressive follower counts are inflated -- research conducted earlier this year found that almost two thirds of the Twitter accounts following popular acts like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry are fake -- their youthful fans respond zealously to almost everything they do.
This year, One Direction’s fans had an awful lot to respond to. Malik announced he was leaving the group in March, and in August, just weeks after the group’s five-year anniversary, word came that its members would be going on an “extended hiatus” in March 2016.
All that drama likely contributed to the fervid fan reaction to the group’s tweets. According to Twitter, the five most popular music-related tweets from 2015 came from One Direction’s current and former members; those messages were retweeted more than 2.5 million times. To put that in perspective, the entire 2015 Grammys broadcast, which was watched by more than 25 million people, generated more than 20 million tweets.