Arab Spring, NBA Lockout Top Twitter’s 2011 Standout Stories

If a news event happened in 2011, but nobody tweeted about it, did it actually happen?

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Egyptians celebrate the news of the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP

The biggest events of 2011 — the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami — were tremendous on their own. But the reverberations of the news on Facebook, Twitter and the like amplified the echos of their developments.

This year, Twitter had a particularly broad reach, and, which debuted in November, captured its impact in their most recent post. The site’s December edition features a collection of the company’s top ten favorite Twitter stories of the year.

The featured stories reveal the most tragic, triumphant and talked-about events of our wild year. Some highlights include:

@Ghonim: Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim became a hero in Egypt after his January 26 tweet that said, “I said one year ago that the Internet will change the political scene in Egypt and some friends made fun of me.” Ghonim was later detained for organizing anti-Mubarak and anti-government protests. After he was released he said, “If you want to liberate a government, give them the Internet.”

@ReallyVirtual: Hovering helicopters awoke computer programmer Sohaib Athar, 33, in the middle of the night on May 1. Not knowing what was going on, he tweeted, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” Unbeknownst to him, he had just inadvertently live-tweeted the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The tweet later received global attention.

@KDTrey5: NBA player Kevin Durant, small forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, sent out a tweet on Oct. 31 looking for some fun amidst the league’s lockout. “This lockout is really boring..anybody playing flag football in Okc..I need to run around or something!” he said. An Oklahoma State student tweeted him back, inviting him to a fraternity flag football game later that night. Durant showed up and scored four touchdowns.

Click here to see the full list of Twitter stories.

LIST: Top 10 Twitter Controversies