The presence of two media brands -- the BBC and BET -- on this week's Top 10 Most Tweeted Brands chart (a collaboration between Advertising Age and What the Trend, the social-media trend-analytics service), raises some interesting questions about why people tend to tweet about brands. Both broadcasters dominated Twitter's "trending topics" list throughout the week because of consumer displeasure: the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) because of announced budget cuts that will result in curtailed programming, and BET (Black Entertainment Television) because a hashtag trend, #BETmessedupwhen, struck a chord and took on a life of its own. (Sample tweets: "#BETmessedupwhen they took away the top 25 countdown that used 2 come on saturdays!," "#BETmessedupwhen they sold out to Viacom," "#BETmessedupwhen they sold their BLACK entertainment company to a white man," and "#BETmessedupwhen they started doing inspirational on sunday ... thats what church is for. ... i wanna watch videos!!!")
Which is not to suggest that individual entertainment brands don't fare well on Twitter primarily because of fan love: Just look at tween mainstays Justin Bieber and Jonas Brothers. Oh, but wait! Bieber -- who is the No. 1 most-tweeted entertainment brand (or brand of any sort) again this week -- had plenty of people tweeting about him via the hashtag #RIPJustinBieber because, well, as the crowdsourced What the Trend description explains: "A mean trending topic started by people who don't like @JustinBieber trending." Harsh! (Such is the circular logic of the Twittersphere: Let's all complain about something trending, and thereby make it trend even higher.) And a Rio de Janeiro rock band, Galpao 29, got slammed on Twitter for getting caught up in a "free iPad!" SPAMbot attack.
But my favorite Top 10 brand this week is MeWithoutYou, a crew of Philadelphia alt-rockers (you can listen to a bunch of their songs at their official MySpace page) who've been described as Bright-Eyes-plus-Neutral-Milk-Hotel (two of my all-time favorites, by the way). They're a great band, but the Twittersphere apparently misinterpreted #MeWithoutYou as one of those fill-in-the-blank Twitter self-amusements (which then morphed into its own hashtag, #MeWithoutYouIsLike).
And so I have this to say to you, dear reader (cribbing from Twitter): Me without you is like a Happy Meal without a toy! SpongeBob without Patrick! A rainbow without sunshine! Winnie the Pooh without Piglet! A stripper without a pole!
How is this chart made? See Notes, below.
|Trend||Peak Position This Week||Peak Position Last Week||Points||Crowdsourced Description|
|1||Justin Bieber||1||2||11,044||The young Canadian R&B/pop singer is trending these days because his new song, "Never Let You Go," was released for download on iTunes this week, as well as a duet with Sean Kingston, and an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." He also had his birthday March 1st.
Subtrends include: #HappyBirthdayJustin, Eenie Meenie, Never Let You Go, #KingstonFollows, #RIPJustinBieber, Cody, #JonasBieberpeace, My World 2, #justinweloveyou, #CodyIsAScam, Justin's, #nedabieber, #bieberblastbaby, #SeanKingston
|2||Olympics||1||1||2,490||The 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada ended last Sunday. There was a flurry of Twitter activity around the gold medal hockey games for both men and women.
Subtrends include: #van2010, Canada, Go Canada Go, USA, Sidney Crosby, Finland, Team USA, Gold, Apolo Ohno, Ryan Miller, Neil Young, Overtime, U-S-A, Canadians, Slovakia, Nickelback, Vancouver, Team Canada, Catherine O'Hara, Cheryl Bernard, #TeamUSA, Canadian, Finland 6-1, Shaun White, Finnish, Katherine Reutter, Hockey, K-Os, Dear Goalpost, Luongo, Tim Thomas, Zach Parise, Russian, Michael J Fox, Simple Plan
|3||Jonas Brothers||1||3||2,360||Fans of the Jonas Brothers from both Europe and South America wanted the band to tour there, a fan of theirs died in the Chilean earthquake, and Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato's new song "Make a Wave" premiered Radio Disney.
Subtrends include: #JonasBrothersAre, #RIPalejandrajonas, #stay, #SoProudOfYouNickJ, Jonas, Make A Wave, JBSouthAmericaTour, #makeawave, #EuropeWantsJonas, Stay, RSCEwl9qQzo
|4||BBC||1||4||1,480||People are tweeting about The BBC Trusts' decision to close DAB stations 6music, Asian Network and to cut back on program spending by as much as 25%. Kristian Digby, host of BBC daytime TV show "To Buy or Not To Buy," was also found dead at his home.
Subtrends include: #SaveBBC6Music, BBC, Asian Network, #bbcqt, BBC Trust, Mark Thompson, BBC 6M
|5||1||4||930||Twitter trended due to crossing the 10 Billion tweet mark, users experiencing frozen timelines, William Shatner playing the dad in a tv show based on the Twitter account @shitmydadsays, and a @mashable post about Twitter's valuation.
Subtrends include: #twitterislike, Twitter Speeding, William Shatner, Twitter Timelines, Twitter Helps Find, Windows, Support Places, Boosting Student, How Much Are, Phishing Returns, Successful Twitter, Twitter Location API
|6||Alice in Wonderland||4||8||882||Tim Burton's eagerly anticipated movie, "Alice in Wonderland", opens in cinemas worldwide March 4th and 5th; starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway.
Subtrends include: Alice, Johnny Depp, Wonderland
|7||Galpao 29||1||New||765||A Brazilian band that appears to have sent Twitter direct messages with links as part of a flawed marketing strategy.|
|8||#BETmessedUpWhen||1||New||579||People explaining when the network BET stopped entertaining its viewers. This topic was originally started by @spokenreasons|
|9||#MeWithoutYouIsLike||1||New||577||MeWithoutYou is actually a band, and people are misinterpreting it to mean something else.|
|10||Bad Girls Club||1||4||557||TV show on the Oxygen network (USA) that follows seven girls living in a house with crazy and wild personalities.
Subtrends include: #badgirlsclub, BGC, Kate, Bad Girls Club, England, Vidic, Annie, Kendra, Amber, Natalie
1. WTT tracks the appearance of topics on the Twitter Trending Topics list and each week ranks the brands (broadly defined to include marketers, products and celebrity/entertainment brands) with the most cumulative staying power. Explanations of trends are solicited from WTT users, Wikipedia-style; a community-voting system is designed to highlight the best explanations while burying lame or prank explanations.
2. For the purposes of this chart, we collect and process data until 12 midnight EST on Thursday night before each Friday's publication.
3. We broadly define "brands" to include major marketers (e.g., Apple) and branded products (e.g., iPad), as well as celebrity and entertainment brands (e.g., Lady GaGa, American Idol). Ad Age works with WTT to consolidate multiple threads of brand chatter (e.g., Apple, iPad, iTampon, Apple Tablet) into one position on the chart when it's clear related Twitter conversations are basically all about the same topic, even if they use different keywords.
4. In WTT's proprietary trend-tracking system, points are awarded for both duration and rank in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. The longer the duration, and the higher the overall rank, the more points are awarded. Measurements are taken in five-minute increments.
5. The crowdsourced trend explanations above are quoted as they appear on WTT, and therefore may have stylistic and grammatical quirks that don't adhere to normal Ad Age editorial standards.
For more information about What The Trend, visit the WTT Frequently Asked Questions.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.