Shift in Twitter Trends Between 2009 and 2010
The above two pie charts are a compilation of the rank and duration of every single topic that pops up on Twitter’s global Trending Topics chart throughout the year. That means, by definition, that smaller topics which, if taken in aggregate might actually turn out to be significant, aren’t given their due. No matter. It’s still fascinating information.
What interests me is how hashtags have pretty much replaced entertainment (although entertainment is still rather large in the overall scheme of things) as a major player. Holidays and politics both got less important. Social Media started to show up as a player. Sports and business tech were both diminished.
What the heck does it all mean?
Well, I’d be lying if I said I absolutely, positively knew for sure. But I suspect that the trending may have to do with (a) more people “discovering” Twitter and (b) more people understanding it and engaging with it. That is, instead of people just following celebrities and reading (and potentially also just retweeting) their tweets, it appears that people may be actually — huzzah! — making their own content.
And — the content they’re making seems to be a bit more meaningful than just “Merry Christmas” or “Let’s go Patriots!” (no disparagement to the Patriots or the Christmas season intended, of course). It looks like it might actually be the promotion of offsite material (e. g. blogging hashtags), attempts to use Twitter to update other social media sites (e. g. you can set up your LinkedIn account so that, if you use the #in hashtag, it updates your LinkedIn status) or just an effort to bring certain information to the attention of other people. After all, whenever I write about robots for Neuron Robotics, I use a #robots or #robotics hashtag.
Hence people seem to be using Twitter more to its potential, as both an ad hoc type of community and a means of cross-pollinating other social media sites. Let’s see what happens this year.
For more information, see the January 12, 2011 blog post on Social Media Today.