Would You Rather Feel Excited About the New IPhone or Bad About Oil-Covered Birds?

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart

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You may have noticed that Twitter is on the fritz again today. All morning I've been getting the "Twitter is over capacity" error message ("Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again") and the Fail Whale graphic. The Fail Whale appears to be all too happy that he's being airlifted from the ocean, perhaps because he saw an oil plume headed directly for him. (Should we blame Twitter's outage on BP? Sure, why not?) Which brings us to the latest weekly Trendrr chart, a collaboration between Advertising Age and social-media tracking service Trendrr. A few notes:

  • The oil spill continues to gain momentum as a social-media obsession. On Monday, "oil" as a trending topic on Twitter hit a peak of 235,842 tweets, far surpassing the last big peak on June 3: 117,338 tweets.

  • Until last Thursday, although "oil spill" had been a regularly recurring trending topic on Twitter, it really didn't loom that large in terms of total number of tweets. What changed on Thursday? The release of those heartbreaking shots by AP photographer Charlie Riedel of oil-covered birds on a beach on Louisiana's East Grand Terre Island. (Here is the back story on how Riedel got those shots.) I predict that Riedel will be nominated for a Pulitzer because his images suddenly made the environmental catastrophe truly resonate, for the first time, for millions of media consumers.
  • But hey, let's keep things in perspective. As a Twitter obsession, the oil spill has been no match for Apple, maker of shiny, happy gadgets, including, as you might have heard, a next-generation iPhone. Cumulative tweets mentioning "apple" March 25 to date: 5,600,248. Cumulative tweets mentioning "oil" March 25 to date: 2,425,578.
  • I'm thinking somebody -- perhaps a blogger? -- should "accidentally" drop a new iPhone into the muck of a Louisiana beach. A photograph of an iPhone 4 tragically covered in oil and fighting for its life? Gizmodo could score a million page views minimum off that, I bet.
  • ~ ~ ~
    Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr, a social- and digital-media tracking service, and Curatorr, a social media filtering and publishing platform. More background here. Trendrr offers a free trial account; Trendrr Pro, which offers more robust tracking and reporting tools, comes in various paid flavors (get the details here).

    Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco. The latest Ad Age Insights white paper is titled "Dumenco's State of the Media Report," and subtitled "From social media to search, print, broadcast and beyond, where ad-supported media stands now and where it's going." It's available right here.

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