Just How Brain-Dead is American Pop Culture Right Now?
A few notes about this week's Top 10 Most Tweeted Brands chart, a collaboration between Advertising Age and What the Trend:
- At its best, Twitter can serve as a sort of cultural pulse-taker or global mind-reader, which, of course, is the whole point of this charticle: tracking what matters to the world -- at least the world reflected in the Twittersphere -- on a week-to-week basis. If you're a regular reader of this charticle, you know that the world mostly cares about three things: pop culture, sports and politics, with the occasional tragedy or dead celebrity thrown in for good measure.
- Until recently, conventional wisdom has been that American pop culture is so unstoppable/inevitable/irresistible that it suffocates other cultures around the world. (In fact, countries including France passed cultural-import laws specifically to keep American pop culture at bay.) Some weeks that still seems to be the case, but more and more the pop-cultural heat, and general topical heat, on Twitter can be found far beyond U.S. borders. This week, for instance, Champions League football (soccer) tops our list, two of our Top 10 spots pertain to the non-U.S. political scene (in Brazil and Australia), and with the exception of the globally-focused Miss Universe pageant (Jimena Navarrete, from Mexico, was crowned Monday), which happens to be based in the U.S. (Donald Trump acquired the show in 1996), American TV didn't show up for the party. But a Brazilian music-awards show and "Big Brother" U.K. did -- the latter just serving as a reminder that much of "reality"-dominated American TV is entirely derivative of European formats ("Big Brother," for instance, was born in the Netherlands in 1999). Yes, the American movies "Inception" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" are on our list, but the former is seriously old news, and the latter has been a box-office dud. (For more on the peculiar disconnect between "Pilgrim" box office and "Pilgrim" Twitter buzz, read this: Here's Proof That Social-Media Buzz Does Not Necessarily Prompt Consumer Spending.) God, I can't wait for the fall.
- Oh, right, Kat Stacks, the hip-hop groupie -- she made our Top 10, and she's an American pop-cultural phenomenon. Or, rather, American pop-cultural scourge. (Background for the blissfully unaware: Is Kat Stacks the Creepiest Twitter Trend Ever?) Thanks to a NSFW video the foul-mouthed Stacks posted online, in which she appears to be hanging out with rapper Soulja Boy in an Atlanta luxury hotel room, the Pamela Des Barres of the Twitter Age is a buzzy topic again this week. You can learn the basics of the latest controversy in this Examiner article: Kat Stacks records rendezvous with Soulja Boy in hotel room -- rapper denies involvement. Warning: If you do end up watching Stacks' video, you might need to take a hot shower afterward and/or take a bath in tomato juice to get the stink off you.
How is this chart made? See Notes, below.
|Trend||Peak Position This Week||Points||Crowdsourced Description|
|1||Champions League football (soccer)||1||8,781||Tweets about various Champions League teams, matches and
players. The latest draw for the next round was Thursday, Aug. 26.
See whatthetrend.com for a complete list of subtrends.
|2||Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Movie)||1||8,332||"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," starring Michael Cera, is a
fantasy/sci-fi movie in which a boy takes on a girl's ex-boyfriends
in order to win her heart. The movie came out Aug. 13.
Subtrends include: Scott Pilgrim, Pilgrim
|3||Miss Universe||1||6,999||Jimena Navarrete (Miss Mexico) won the Miss Universe 2010 title
in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Subtrends include: Jimena Navarrete, Venus Raj, Major Major, #missuniverse, Bret Michaels, Universe Pageant, Lupita Jones, Donald Trump, Stefania Fernandez, Marelisa Gibson, Criss Angel, Marelisa, Jimena, Irlanda, Osmel, Lupita, Traje T?pico, Navarrete, Albania, Ximena, Venus, Raj, Jalisco, Venevision
|4||Inception (Movie)||2||5,322||"Inception" is a 2010 sci-fi action thriller film written, produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio. "Inception" was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on July 16, 2010.|
|5||Various Brazilian political brands||2||5,257||For more about tweets surrounding the Brazilian presidential elections, visit whatthetrend.com.|
|6||Various Australian political brands||1||3,676||For more about tweets surrounding the Australian elections, visit whatthetrend.com.|
|7||Kat Stacks||2||2,853||Hip-hop groupie Kat Stacks posted a video in which she appears to be hanging out with rapper Soulja Boy in an Atlanta hotel room.|
|8||1||2,286||People now are choosing their BFFs (best friends forever) on
Twitter, a trend spawned by twitterbffs.com. A Virtual Prom took
place on Twiter. People are tweeting about how Twitter has changed
Subtrends include: Twitter BFFs, #twitterprom, #TwitterIsMyLife, #twitterbffs
|9||Big Brother UK (TV Show)||1||2,004||The finale of the 11th and final series of "Big Brother" aired
in the UK.
Subtrends include: #bb11, Corin, Josie walked, Josie, Lee Stafford, Sammy Pepper, Josie won, Simon Webb, Well done Josie, BBLB, Anthea, Marios, Josie looks, Evicted, Been Evicted
|10||Premio Multishow (TV Show)||1||1,890||Award Multishow Brazilian Music (Pr?mio Multishow de M?sica
Brasileira) aired in Brazil with online voting at
See whatthetrend.com for a complete list of subtrends.
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 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.