What Matters More Than Obama, Health Care and Guinness Beer in Twitterland?

Hint: It Begins With an S, Ends With a W. Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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If you ever had any doubt that Twitter doesn't reflect real reality so much as its own fishbowl-y Twitter alternative reality, consider this week's Trendrr chart. Even as Obama's signature political battle comes down to the wire (we tracked both "health care" and "healthcare"), and even as Guinness beer experiences its annual surge as a trending topic (it actually showed up this morning on Twitter's top 10 before #stpatricksday did), one totally nichey meme continues to rule Twitter: SXSW.

South by Southwest -- the music, film and interactive conference currently in progress (the closing music portion and the rest of the film portion, that is) in Austin, Texas -- has, of course, been a Twitter mecca for years. In fact, Twitter's presence at SXSW in 2007 is credited with giving the microblogging service its first breakout moment. Almost exactly three years ago, Nick Douglas of Gawker Media's Valleywag blogged that "One-line one-to-many messaging service Twitter is aflame during the South by Southwest Interactive conference. The techies, bloggers, and various citizenry-of-media are pumping the service with constant web, IM and SMS messages. Twitter staffers Jack and Alex tell me that the site, which normally carries around 20,000 messages a day, broke 60,000 a day this weekend. This traffic boost should add a strong layer of new permanent users. In the next year, Twitter could make a Facebook-size blowup among the general public."

Can you imagine? A mere 20,000 or even 60,000 tweets per day?

In February, Twitter revealed that it was processing 50 million tweets a day. And on March 4, it surged past a cumulative total of 10 billion tweets.

And yet, a relatively tiny group of hardcore tweeters in Austin (attendance at all the various SXSW conferences and venues combined numbers in the low five digits), magnified by hardcore followers/retweeters of every last bit of SXSW news and gossip, can still bigfoot the Twitter conversation. This past Monday SXSW was name-checked in 62,758 tweets -- its one-day peak so far.

So if you've had your fill of SXSW -- either because you're in Austin, or because you're sick of hearing about what's going on in Austin -- well, at least you can be thankful about Tiger Woods' imminent career change from, uh, adult performer back to golfer, causing him to eke past SXSW in hourly tweets. Which means one thing: Next year SXSW should think about adding a Philandering Sex Addict track to its lineup.

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Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr, a social- and digital-media tracking service. More background here. A basic Trendrr account is free; Trendrr Pro, which offers more robust tracking and reporting tools, comes in various paid flavors (get the details here).

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

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