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Obama, Sandy, the Olympics, and the Spice Girls: Twitter's 2012 year in review

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The end of 2012 is nigh, and Twitter has launched a new page that highlights the top tweets, trends, and events from the year that was. Unsurprisingly, President Obama's "Four More Years" tweet and photo remained the top retweeted and favorited content posted to Twitter this year — to date, it has garnered more than 810,000 retweets and more than 300,000 favorites. That's far beyond Justin Bieber's second-place tweet, a tribute to a young fan who passed away from a rare form of brain cancer.

Twitter also rounded up the global events that generated the most tweets and retweets, and there were few surprises there as well — the Summer Olympics from London generated over 150 million tweets, with the Spice Girls performance during the closing ceremonies generating a peak of 116,000 tweets per minute. The US presidential election was also a big driver, with more than 10 million tweets posted during the first debate and over 31 million tweets send about the election on election day. And while Hurricane Sandy was a relatively localized event, it still drove more than 20 million tweets between October 27th and November 1st.

Beyond these top moments, there's also a round-up of more notable events and how they were shared on Twitter — things like a tweet and photo from the Mars Curiosity Rover team three minutes before it touched down, or James Cameron's tweet from when his Deepsea Challenger reached the bottom of the ocean. While the "Only On Twitter" moniker is a bit self-serving, there's no doubt that Twitter has been a part of a huge variety of significant world events this year.

Twitter's also rounded up the top trending hashtag searches in a number of categories (politics, TV, sports, and so on), a list of high-profile users new to Twitter during the year, and a custom "your year on Twitter" page that builds an infographic of your activity throughout 2012. It's really an impressive round-up of the past twelve months that touches on nearly ever major milestone from the past year — and simultaneously gives Twitter even more clout as a preeminent way to keep up with world events.