Do People Tweet About Brands More Out of Hate Than Love?

The BBC and BET -- and even Justin Bieber! -- Get Bashed in This Week's Most-Tweeted Brands of the Week Chart

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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!!!")

Consumer displeasure about the decision to shutter 6music landed the BBC on this week's chart.
Consumer displeasure about the decision to shutter 6music landed the BBC on this week's chart.
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 Twitter 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

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.

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