Never Mind Leno. Oprah Beats Letterman, Who Beats Fallon, Who Beats...

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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Thanks to the debut of his (critically panned) prime-time talk show this week, Jay Leno has been dominating all sorts of mind share, from mainstream media to social media. As you'd expect, he spiked big as a Twitter topic: On Tuesday, there were 56,549 tweets that referenced him (though by Thursday he'd fallen back down to Earth, with just 6,792 tweets). But I was more curious about the TV talk-show host Twitter-buzz landscape before Leno crashed prime time. Thus this week's chart.

A few notes and observations:

  • This chart cuts off this past Monday, right before Leno's big Twitter spike (mentioned above), to keep that spike from flattening all the other trendlines.

  • Having tons of Twitter followers doesn't necessarily guarantee Twitter buzz. Consider Ellen Degeneres, who, as of this writing, has 3,302,231 followers @TheEllenShow, vs. 2,214,294 for Oprah (@Oprah). Yeah, Ellen spiked huge as the Twitterverse digested her appointment as an "American Idol" judge (a peak of 23,336 tweets on Thursday, Sept. 10), but on a day-to-day basis, Oprah gets name-checked much more than Ellen -- or any other talk-show host, for that matter. (And given that she just announced a new Book Club pick this morning, she'll surely spike big this weekend.) One caveat: Though Twitterers generally seem to tweet Ellen Degeneres' full name (which we used for the purposes of this chart) -- whereas almost nobody on Twitter bothers with the "Winfrey" when tweeting about Oprah -- some Twitterers just tweet about "Ellen" (especially as the show is airing) and expect everybody to know which Ellen they're talking about. And those tweets, sadly, just generally get lost in the Twittersphere.

  • Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon, 1,990,573 followers) has made a lot of noise on his show about being hip to Twitter, but David Letterman -- who declared Twitter to be "stupid, just crap" on his show this spring -- gets tweeted about consistently more than Jimmy Fallon. Fallon generally beats Jimmy Kimmel, though.

  • Conan O'Brien is a bit hard to track on Twitter, because lately there seem to be a lot of non-U.S. and foreign-language tweets referencing a "Conan" who is clearly not a red-headed American TV talk-show host -- plus his official presence on Twitter has a negligible number of followers (18,900 as of this morning), presumably because it has such a cumbersome, non-obvious name: @nbcconan. It's worth noting, though, that Conan's recurring, rather insane "Twitter Tracker" segment ("BRINGING YOU ONLY THE MOST EXCITING CELEBRITY TWEETS!!!") has its own website.

  • Aw, hell, it's been a long week and I'm feeling curmudgeonly. So I'm going to give Old Man Letterman the last word: "When they write about this thousands and thousands and thousands of years from now, Twitter will be the indicator that it was the beginning of the end of civilization." (1:50 into the "stupid, just crap" video clip linked above).

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    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. More background here. A basic Trendrr account is free; 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.

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