This week's Top 10 Trending Twitter Topics chart -- produced, as always, with our editorial partner What the Trend -- is something to behold. Yes, the Golden Globes broadcast ranks right up there (with a lot of help from the controversy surrounding acid-tongued host Ricky Gervais), but actually cedes the top spot to hashtag nonsense that WTT classifies as "Views on Women," including, most prominently, #RulesForGirls. What's that all about? See Tracie Egan Morrissey's Jezebel post "Twitter's Incredibly Depressing #RulesForGirls."
The Twittersphere has some serious gender-identity issues, is all I can say. Like, Justin Bieber got a boost (in Trending Topic points, at least) this week via the trending term "Justina Bieber." Per WTT's crowdsourced explanation: "Fans of the Jonas Brothers have renamed Justin Bieber 'Justina Bieber'; Bieber fans have retaliated by calling the Jonas Brothers the 'Jonas Sisters.'" A death hoax surrounding Bieber also was a huge Twitter trending topic ("RIP JUSTIN BIEBER") this week.
All I can say is, R.I.T. (Rest in Tweets), Justina Bieber.
Meanwhile, a Twitter account with the handle @LMAOTwitpics -- Laughing My Ass Off [at] Twitpics -- breaks into our Top 10 this week. The idea is simple: @LMAOTwitpics creator @Adri_Mane disseminates an intrinsically funny found Twitpic -- or a Twitpic that becomes funny thanks to his caption. It's lowbrow Twitter comedy at its best, or worst, depending on your sense of humor. For instance, this morning @LMAOTwitpics tweeted "Something Just Don't Sit Right About This Poster http://twitpic.com/3s1rnj"
Um, point well taken.
@LMAOTwitpics also got a big boost this week with links to a cellphone screenshot labeled "Parents & Facebook" (in which the term "WTF" is delicately explained to someone's dad) and a photo of a girl's Justin Bieber tattoo labeled "DAMN BELIEBERS." (Beliebers, of course, are hardcore Justin Bieber fans.)
@LMAOTwitpics has been around since July 10, 2010. I asked Liz Pullen, trend analyst at What the Trend, about its sudden rise this week. "It's interesting," she says, "because there used to be dozens of these sorts of retweeted accounts last spring -- @FreakyFacts, @RevRunWisdom, etc. -- but they completely fell off of the map in May when Twitter changed its algorithm." (Twitter changed its Trending Topics ranking system to reflect topics that were surging in popularity rather than continuously popular.) Liz continues: "These Quotation Accounts, as I called them, always tagged their messages with a hashtag so they'd easily reach Twitter's Trending Topics. But since they were penalized for frequent trending, they just disappeared overnight. @LMAOTwitpics seems to be succeeding now because he has a unique caption for each Twitpic and it is the caption that charts in the Top 10." In other words, @LMAOTwitpics was the force behind a bunch of trending topics this week -- including DAMN BELIEBERS -- that individually captured the Twittersphere's attention.
Hey, if @shitmydadsays could spawn a book deal and sitcom, well, maybe it's time to invest in @LMAOTwitpics futures.
How is this chart made? See Notes, below.
|Trend||Peak Position This Week||Points||Crowdsourced Description|
|1||Views on Women||1||6,816||Misogynists and others are tweeting the rules of life that girls do, or should, follow.
Subtrends include: #RulesForGirls, #ihatefemaleswho, #mainchick, #sidechick
|2||Golden Globe Awards (TV Show)||1||6,123||Tweets about the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards for achievement in film and television, held on Sunday, January 16th.|
|3||#ConfessionHour||1||3,703||Users are sharing things that would never say aloud, like fears, dislikes, likes, etc.|
|4||MLK Day||1||3,237||People are weeking about Martin Luther King Day.
Subtrends include: #IHaveADream, #MLKDay
|5||#iloveyoubecause||1||3,234||Users are sharing their reasons why they love someone.|
|6||#iWishICould||1||3,054||People are tweeting about things they wish they could do.|
|7||NFL||2||2,946||Tweets about various teams, players and games.|
|8||Justin Bieber||1||2,881||Tweets about pop star Justin Bieber. Additional notes: Fans of the Jonas Brothers have renamed Justin Bieber 'Justina Bieber'; Bieber fans have retaliated by calling the Jonas Brothers the 'Jonas Sisters.'
Subtrends include: Justina Bieber
|9||Soccer/Football||2||2,805||Tweets about various teams, players and matches|
|10||LMAOTwitpics||2||2,697||Users are RTing "@LMAOTwitpics: Damn Beliebers http://twitpic.com/3rjwg1" and "@LMAOTwitpics: Parents & Facebook http://twitpic.com/3qgvuk." A photo has surfaced online of rapper Drake smiling while staring at a shirtless Lil Wayne while they are on stage. Users are RTing "@LMAOTwitpics Seriously Drake? http://twitpic.com/39lr3i."
Subtrends include: Damn Beliebers, Parents & Facebook, Seriously Drake
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.