Top Twitter Trends of 2009

Now that Twitter employs a Chief Scientist, we will benefit from the ongoing interpretation and publishing of Twitter behavior and activity to better understand how Twitter is constantly evolving.

In a discussion with Robert Scoble recently, I suggested that Twitter also consider hiring a digital anthropologist or sociologist, to not only analyze and comprehend data, but also effectively observe cultures and shifts within this burgeoning online society in order to participate in and ultimately shape its transformation.

As shared in Twitter’s post announcing this year’s top trends:

Twitter’s Trending Topics helped us understand what was happening around the world showing us that people everywhere can be united in concern around important events; excited about a new movie; or geek-out about a major new technology.

Twitter is indeed a human seismograph, a reflection of current events as well as a real-time indicator of our focus and attention. Whether we agree or align with Twitter’s trending topics, they do in fact represent popular interest at any given time. In 2009, Twitter’s data concentrated on one particular topic that also demonstrated how diversified cultures, societies, beliefs, and politics can converge into one global community.

Among all the keywords, hashtags, and phrases that proliferated throughout the year, one topic surfaced repeatedly. Twitter users found the Iranian elections the most engaging topic of the year. The terms #iranelection, Iran and Tehran were all in the top-21 of Trending Topics, and #iranelection finished in a close second behind the regular weekly favorite #musicmonday.

If for but a moment, through services such as Twitter, we become one…

As a seismograph detects and records the intensity, direction, and duration of a movement, Twitter captures the activity and reaction of people around events as they happen. In practically every instance, a spark triggered a social tsunami of tweets and retweets that echoed into history books of socialized media.

Twitter Trends of 2009

News Events

1. #iranelection
2. Swine Flu
3. Gaza
4. Iran
5. Tehran
6. #swineflu
7. AIG
8. #uksnow
9. Earth Hour
10. #inaug09

People

1. Michael Jackson
2. Susan Boyle
3. Adam Lambert
4. Kobe (Bryant)
5. Chris Brown
6. Chuck Norris
7. Joe Wilson
8. Tiger Woods
9. Christian Bale
10. A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez)

Movies

1. Harry Potter
2. New Moon
3. District 9
4. Paranormal Activity
5. Star Trek
6. True Blood
7. Transformers 2
8. Watchmen
9. Slumdog Millionaire
10. G.I. Joe

TV Shows

1. American Idol
2. Glee
3. Teen Choice Awards
4. SNL (Saturday Night Live)
5. Dollhouse
6. Grey’s Anatomy
7. VMAS (Video Music Awards)
8. #bsg (Battlestar Galatica)
9. BET Awards
10. Lost

Sports (Teams, Events, Leagues)

1. Super Bowl
2. Lakers
3. Wimbledon
4. Cavs (Cleveland Cavaliers)
5. Superbowl
6. Chelsea
7. NFL
8. UFC 100
9. Yankees
10. Liverpool

Technology

1. Google Wave
2. Snow Leopard
3. Tweetdeck
4. Windows 7
5. CES
6. Palm Pre
7. Google Latitude
8. #E3
9. #amazonfail
10. Macworld

Hash Tags

1. #musicmonday
2. #iranelection
3. #sxsw
4. #swineflu
5. #nevertrust
6. #mm
7. #rememberwhen
8. #3drunkwords
9. #unacceptable
10. #iwish

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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