Viral 2012: The biggest hits online this year

Austrian extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner goes through dress rehearsal at Red Bull Stratos...

Austrian extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner goes through dress rehearsal at Red Bull Stratos mission headquarters in Roswell, New Mexico, in this October 6, 2012, handout photo. (Reuters/Red Bull Stratos/JOERG MITTER/Handout)

Monique Beech, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:59 PM ET

Twitter and YouTube records were smashed during several key events, as social media continued to take over how we communicated in 2012. From the Summer Olympics to the U.S. election, here's a look back at some of the most influential tweets, posts and viral videos of 2012:

— The advocate: When Helene Campbell, 21, of Ottawa wanted to raise awareness of organ donation and her double-lung transplant, she convinced Canadian pop superstar Justin Bieber to tweet about her cause and appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, via Skype, to spread her message.

— The campaign: A 29-minute video by a group called Invisible Children about Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord, exploded on YouTube in March, generating more than 94-million views. Within weeks, the filmmaker had a public breakdown, questions emerged about donations to the charity and experts suggested the Ugandan people cared more about their corrupt government than Kony.

— The games: Billed as the first social Games, the London 2012 Summer Olympics lived up to its hype. More than 150 million tweets were posted over 16 days. The most tweeted? Usain Bolt of Jamaica winning gold in the 200m sprint: 80,000-plus tweets per minute.

— The jump: Millions of people watched Felix Baumgartner jump from the edge of space on Oct 14. The Austrian daredevil's 39-kilometre jump was live-streamed on YouTube to an audience of 8 million, making the stunt the most-watched live event ever on the Google-owned video site.

— The super storm: While a lot of good information came out through social media during Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, several fake tweets and pictures brought out the worst.

— The heart-breaker: British Columbia teen Amanda Todd's sombre message of being harassed and assaulted by her peers, which she posted to YouTube in September before taking her life Oct. 10, resonated worldwide and became a rallying cry against bullying.

— The politician: 'Four More Years.' That declaration from newly re-elected U.S. president Barack Obama on Twitter not only made his tweet the most re-tweeted of all time (455,000 and counting), but put him in the history books for declaring victory before most media called the election on Nov. 6.

— The anthem: South Korean rapper Psy wooed the world with Gangnam Style and his strange horse-riding dance. By Nov. 24, video had become the most viewed ever on YouTube with more than 800 million hits.


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