Whether or not Twitter can really be an approximation for anything is hard to say. But like a democracy, the platform catapults to the top the tweets that resonate most with the Twitter-sphere’s consciousness. So it happened with former president Barack Obama’s tweet in response to the violence at Charlottesville and president Donald Trump’s equivocation about it. Obama’s picture of himself greeting a multiracial medley of adorable infants (above) broke the record this week for most liked tweet in history, with nearly 3.4 million hearts and counting.
In the list of the 10 most-liked tweets of all time, according to the Twitter metrics tracker FavStar, the Obamas take up three spots. Barack’s departure from the White House occupies #4, and Michelle’s, #6. Peppered among them are singer Ariana Grande’s heartbroken response to the Manchester bombing at her concert; Ellen DeGeneres’ infamous Oscars selfie; two members of boy band One Direction; and the sensational chicken nugget guy, Carter Wilkerson, who desperately wanted his nuggs. (On the list of most-retweeted tweets, he comes top.)
It’s interesting to see how the most-liked tweets compare by tweeter, content, and tone. All 10 tweets, perhaps unsurprisingly, are in English, written by Americans or Brits; nine of 10 come from celebrities or celebrity-status politicians; many of them document historical moments that united people around the world; and all touch on something fundamentally human: fear, sadness, nostalgia, desire, love.
Below, the top 10: