We might have finally figured out what Rihanna and Katy Perry were talking about Thursday night: the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards is the second most social event of all time.

The VMAs raked in 12.8 million social media comments, with 12.7 million public comments drawn from Twitter and 139,000 on Facebook, according to Bluefin Labs. The awards show placed just below this year’s Grammy Awards (13 million comments), but ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, which had 12.2 million comments.

The One Direction-heavy telecast walloped last year’s awards show in social media comments, too. Around 3.1 million comments were recorded for the 2011 edition of the VMAs, with the most tweeted about the moment when Lady Gaga appeared as her manly alter ego.

It’s not surprise though that this year’s social media numbers towered over the previous years.

The 2012 VMAs had numerous social media tie-ins including the nominees being announced via Twitter in August and the Most Share-Worthy Video award being voted using Twitter. (One Direction of course won that, too.)

Also, Twitter has more active users this year than last year. In Sept. 2011, its estimated the service had 100 million active users versus 170 millon active users in July 2012.

MTV’s pretty Twitter Tracker counter recorded 9.9 million tweets, starting at the beginning of the MTV News preshow program.

Katy Perry, who didn’t perform, was the most tweeted-about singer at the show, with 53,000 tweets. See what rubbing elbows with Rihanna does for your career?

One Direction placed second with 44,500 tweets, Rihanna clocked in at third with 40,000 tweets, and Twitter users seemed less than amused with Taylor Swift, whose 22,000 tweets placed her in fourth.

MTV also tracked the most tweeted-about moments, with Frank Ocean’s sultry performance placing first with 125,000 tweets, 115,000 tweets for Swift’s finale number, and 91,000 tweets for Green Day’s performance. Although his video has over 100 million YouTube views, PSY only managed 19th place out of 22 (with 3,400 tweets) for the U.S. debut of “Gangnam Style.”

Photo via MTV