Julian 'Wikileaks' Assange Is the New Justin Bieber

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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For this week's Trendrr charticle -- a collaboration between Advertising Age and social-media tracking service Trendrr -- a look at Wikileaks on Twitter. Some notes:

    Julian Assange
    Julian Assange
  • Right now, on Wednesday morning as I write this, Wikileaks and Julian Assange are absent from Twitter's Trending Topics. How could that be, you ask? (Especially given Assange's arrest yesterday in London on sex-crime charges, not to mention word from Matt Drudge, based on "unnamed sources," that the Wikileaks founder is slated to be Time's "Person of the Year.") As Twitter explained in a statement it issued Monday, "Twitter is not censoring #wikileaks, #cablegate or other related terms from the Trends list of trending topics. Our Trends list is designed to help people discover the most breaking news from across the world, in real time. The list is generated by an algorithm that identifies topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously. ... Sometimes topics that are popular don't break into the Trends list because the current velocity of conversation (volume of Tweets at a given moment) isn't greater than in previous hours and days. Sometimes topics that are genuinely popular simply aren't widespread enough to make the list of top Trends. And, on occasion, topics just aren't as popular as people believe."
  • Sounds kind of familiar, right? Earlier in the year, when Twitter announced it was tweaking its Trending Topics algorithm to reflect newly surging interest in topics, as opposed to continuing interest, Justin Bieber fans got all up in arms because their favorite floppy-haired Canadian kept falling out of the Trending Topics list, no matter how furiously and frequently they tweeted their love for him. Floppy-haired Australian Assange did, though, re-emerge on Twitter's Trending Topics list yesterday morning in the form a two-word meme: "Assange arrested."
  • I don't want to give any untoward career advice to Justin Bieber -- who is, of course, still a minor -- but, hey, two words: "Bieber arrested." I bet there'll be some place, somewhere on Bieber's next tour, that has really strict jaywalking laws or something.
  • Tweets per hour for wikileaks vs. bieber
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    Tweets per hour for "wikileaks" (orange) vs. "bieber" (green).

  • We've been tracking a roll-up of the dominant Wikileaks -related terms on Twitter (e.g., wikileaks, Assange, #cablegate, #imwikileaks, etc.) since Tuesday, Nov. 30, and the combined terms have been appearing in an average of 150,000 tweets a day. News of Assange's arrest, though, prompted a huge new surge: Yesterday 402,387 tweets included Wikileaks-related terms.
  • Estimated gender split of Twitterers tweeting about WikiLeaks.
    Estimated gender split of Twitterers tweeting about WikiLeaks.
  • Interestingly, the conversation on Twitter about WikiLeaks has been generated by a user base that Trendrr estimates to be 74% male and 26% female.
  • Is Julian Assange, the man, becoming a bigger, more notorious brand than Wikileaks , the organization? Right now I'd say Wikileaks itself still dominates, although Assange's high-profile arrest obviously helped a lot in making him even more of a household name -- and the inevitable Hollywood blockbuster, coming in the wake of the Time "Person of the Year" cover, should put him over the top. In fact*, I'm happy to exclusively announce that, according to unnamed sources (who don't exist), Liam Neeson has been signed to play Julian Assange in the Wikileaks movie. I'm also happy to exclusively announce that Aaron Sorkin is working on the Wikileaks-movie screenplay, "The Antisocial Network" -- and remember, you read it here first (because I just made it up).

* "Fact" in the internet sense of the word.

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Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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