This week's Top 10 Trending Twitter Topics chart -- produced, as always, with our editorial partner What the Trend -- is bracketed by tragedy: The attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (with a wide range of associated subtrends, including "Jared Laughner" and "#blamepalin") takes the No. 1 spot, while the devastating flooding in Australia takes the No. 10 spot.
In between: the usual mix of Twitter's hashtag follies, sports (European soccer/football, the NCAA), music (Twitter mainstay Super Junior, the South Korean boyband) and ... Jar Jar Binks? Yes, though What the Trend rolled him (or it, or shim, or whatever) into the "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" master trend, because the airing of that installment of the "Star Wars" saga on British TV last weekend is why Jar Jar Binks started trending in the first place.
Naturally, legions of non-Brits, seeing "Jar Jar Binks" in the Trending Topics, started tweeting "Why is Jar Jar Binks trending?" In fact, at one point on Sunday, I checked the Jar Jar Binks tweet stream and 9 of 10 of the first tweets I saw were more or less that exact phrase; the 10th had something rather nasty to say about Jar Jar which I won't repeat here, because this is a family-friendly charticle, folks. I will, however, note that comedian Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) has been getting a lot of retweeting mileage out of his tweet on Jan. 8 that read "Jar Jar Binks is almost an anagram for Justin Bieber."
All told, tweets related to "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" spent 54 hours in Twitter's Trending Topics, mostly thanks to Jar Jar Bieber -- er, Binks. And then when he fell out of the TTs, Twitterers started tweeting about why Jar Jar had suddenly disappeared from view.
Twitter user @Crutnacker offered a theory in this tweet on Wednesday: "Why isn't Jar Jar Binks trending anymore? #blamepalin"
No response yet from @SarahPalinUSA.
How is this chart made? See Notes, below.
|Trend||Peak Position This Week||Points||Crowdsourced Description|
|1||Rep. Giffords Shooting||1||8,087||Tweets related to the attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)
Subtrends include: Jared Lee Loughner, Gabrielle Giffords, Blood Libel, Congresswoman Giffords, #blamepalin, Rep Gabrielle Giffords, Jared Loughner, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Christina Taylor Greene, Enduring Strength, Clarence Dupnik, Sheriff Dupnik, Daniel Hernandez, Christina Green, Christina Taylor Green, Memorial Service, Judge John Roll, God Bless America, Federal Judge John Roll, Federal Judge John, Lee Loughner, Congresswoman Gabrielle, Giffords, Peter Rhee, Jared Laughner, Gov Brewer
|2||European Soccer/Football||1||7,909||Tweets about various players, teams and matches.
See whatthetrend.com for a complete list of subtrends.
|3||Alay Style||1||6,589||"tYp3 LyK tHi5" is "Type like this" in "Alay" style, common in Indonesia. People are saying how they are tired of people that type like this: "p3oPl3 tYp3 LyK tHi5"
Subtrends include: tYp3 LyK tHi5, sScRRiIIbbB€ AaAzZzZhi, LyK tHi5, tYp3 LyK
|4||Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (Movie)||1||5,339||"Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" was shown Saturday on the U.K.'s ITV television channel. The character Jar Jar Binks trended for more than two days.
Subtrends include: Jar Jar Binks, Phantom Menace, Jar Jar
|5||NCAA||1||3,920||Tweets about various teams, players and games. Twitter users who were rooting for the Oregon Ducks in Monday night's BCS game tweeted "QUACK QUACK QUACK" as a battle cry.
Subtrends include: QUACK QUACK QUACK. (See whatthetrend.com for a complete list of subtrends.)
|6||Super Junior||1||2,774||Tweets about the South Korean boyband Super Junior
See whatthetrend.com for a complete list of subtrends.
|7||#RealMen||1||2,673||Users are sharing what they think a "real man" is like.|
|8||#YouNeedANewBoyfriend||1||2,365||People are tweeting ways to tell that you need a new boyfriend.|
|9||#QuoteThatMovie||1||2,154||People are tweeting their favorite lines from movies.|
|10||Australia Flooding||1||1,844||Tweets about the massive floods in Brisbane, Queensland
Subtrends include: #prayforaustralia, Jordan Rice, Anna Bligh, Flood Relief Appeal, Brisbane, Brisbane River, KING WALLY, Qld, Goodna, Queensland, Bing Lee
1. WTT tracks the appearance of topics on the Twitter Trending Topics list and each week ranks the subjects 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. Ad Age works with WTT to consolidate multiple threads of chatter 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 FAQ. And check out WTT's Week in Review, compiled by its in-house editors and covering an expanded general list of Top 20 trends (including hashtag trends) here.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.