AT&T Is 'The Worst,' Google Takes on Amazon, Hertz Goes Electric: The Week in Social Buzz

The Ad Age/OneRiot Brand Buzz Chart, Dec. 2-9

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What, exactly, is a brand? That's a question we wrestle with each week as we put this charticle -- a collaboration between Advertising Age and real-time buzz tracker OneRiot -- together. For instance, WikiLeaks is arguably one of the most-discussed global media operations of the moment, but does an organization devoted to destroying brand value (e.g., "Brand America," the diplomatic/political equity of Hillary Clinton, etc.) really count as a brand? For the purposes of this chart, we decided no.

And while Oprah is, of course, one of the great celebrity brands of our time, the current buzz about her has little to do with her wide-ranging business interests; instead, people are talking about her because she's formally denied, in a new Barbara Walters interview, that she's gay ("I'm not a lesbian ... I'm not even kind of a lesbian"). Given the personal nature of her current (huge) buzz, we decided that it was a little weird to classify her as a brand in the context of this week's chart, alongside the likes of Walmart and AT&T. That said, we anticipate that as the launch date (Jan. 1) of her eponymous cable network draws closer, social-media buzz about her will grow even louder, but for different reasons -- and so we suspect that Oprah, the empire, as opposed to Oprah, the non-lesbian, will soon be making an appearance on this chart in one form or another.

The Story The Spin Key Source
1 AT&T Latest Consumer Reports Survey Slams AT&T :( CNN Money: 'AT&T Is Now the Worst Carrier'
2 Google Google Bookstore Debuts With Titles From 4,000 Publishers :) NYT: Google Opens E-Book Store in Challenge to Amazon
3 Citi Taxpayers Make a Tidy Profit on Citigroup Bailout :) CNBC: U.S. Exits Citigroup Stake, Earns $12 Billion Profit
4 SpaceX Commercial Spaceflight Company Makes History :) L.A. Times: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Lifts Off, Reaches Orbit
5 Walmart Supremes to Hear Walmart Sex-Discrimination Case :( ABC News: Supreme Court to Review Massive Walmart Class-Action Case
6 Hertz Hertz To Go Electric Starting Dec. 15 :) New York Post: Hertz to Offer Electric Smart Cars for Rent
7 Pizza Hut Alleged Racism at Pizza Hut U.K. After Incident With Pro Soccer Players :( The Guardian: Pizza Hut Sparks Race Row After Asking Black Footballers to Pay Before Eating

ABOUT THIS CHART: OneRiot has created a proprietary Trending Topic Engine that surfaces stories trending right now across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Digg. Advertising Age parses brand-related data collected by OneRiot over a one-week period, assigns a "spin" to each story based on the nature of the prevailing coverage, and selects a "key source" from among the news outlets whose links are being shared most widely on the social web. For more about the OneRiot advertising network, which helps brands and marketers reach an influential audience on the realtime social web, click here.

Questions about this chart? Please e-mail Simon Dumenco (@simondumenco on Twitter).

For more stats, data, research and analytics about marketing, advertising and consumer trends, please visit the Ad Age Stat blog (@AdAgeStat on Twitter).

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