Twitter's Top Trends of 2010

Not as frivolous as one might think...

This article is from the archive of our partner .

To its critics, Twitter has never been a conduit for enlightened discourse. It's a cesspool of Bieber fever, celebrity gossip and 140-character adolescence. On Monday, the micro-blogging site gave naysayers another opportunity to kvetch: It published the top trending subjects of 2010. To some bloggers' surprise, however, the list contains more hard-hitting, substantive subjects than one might expect. Here's the list followed by commentary from the blogosphere:

Twitter's top 10 overall trends actually paint quite a good picture of what the world was interested in in 2010; definitely more so than Google’s list of the fastest rising search topics. The Gulf oil spill and the Haiti earthquake were definitely among the biggest news stories of the year. The FIFA World Cup, the accompanying vuvuzelas, and the psychic octopus Paul captured the attention of almost the entire world for a couple of months, and iPad and Android were constantly generating buzz in the world of technology. The rest, as one might expect, is entertainment: Christopher Nolan's hit movie Inception, the teen sensation Justin Bieber, and the omnipresent Harry Potter. Here's the full top 10 list:

  • The Oil Spill Loomed Large, observes Clint Boulton at eWeek. "People tweeted about loss of marine life and fishermen's jobs, and were generally displeased with the way BP handled the situation."
  • People Were Crazy About Apple, writes Bill at Pad Gadget. Apple products took "four of the top ten spots" in the technology category:
The iPad (#1),  iOS (#3), iPhone (#4) and MacBook Air (#9) all made the list while many other popular technology products didn't make the cut this year.  Google was able to secure the second spot with Android OS and the #10 spot with Google Instant.  HTC made it on the list but other mobile device makers Nokia, Palm, RIM and Motorola were absent from this year's list.
  • Surprising Results from the Soccer World, writes Alison Diana at Information Week, noting that the World Cup's actual players didn't make the top three spots in "World Cup-related tweets. Rather, FIFA World Cup, vuvuzela, and Pulpo Paul took the top three tweet honors."
  • Way to Go, Paul the Octopus!  Clint Boulton at eWeek notes the presence of "Pulpo Paul ... an English octopus who became internationally famous after his feeding behavior was used to predict the winner of each of Germany's seven matches in the 2010 World Cup. Paul, who also predicted Spain would prevail in the final match, passed away in October."
  • Let's Not Forgot Bieber-gate, recalls Canada's CTV:

Bieber, who has more than 6.3 million followers on Twitter, was eighth on the overall list and first in the people category. Bieber fans responded with outrage earlier in the year after his name stopped appearing on Twitter's list of trending topics. They called it a conspiracy, but Twitter explained that once a topic has become very popular it's harder to appear on the list.

The trending list identifies topics that are increasing in popularity. So Bieber fans responded by finding another way to get their hero on the list. They continued to constantly tweet about him but referred to him as Bustin Jieber instead.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.