Twitter Has Pretty Much Officially Become a Gaming Platform

The Trendiest Topics on Twitter This Week

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What an amazing week! We all learned that not only did Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds separate, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are kaput, too. (I've spent time with both Scarlett and Zac -- having profiled them for glossy magazines -- and I'd like to take this opportunity to suggest that they should immediately start dating, then mate as soon as possible, creating insanely pretty babies. Hence the Twitter trend I'm starting right now: #ScarZac.)

But to me the amazing part is not the celebrity breakups (yawn), but the fact that they didn't crack our weekly Top 10 Trendiest Twitter Topics chart -- produced, as always, using the proprietary algorithm developed by our editorial partner, What the Trend, which monitors both the rank and duration of every single topic that pops up on Twitter's global Trending Topics chart. Scarlett & Ryan only got to No. 14, and Zac & Vanessa petered out at No. 49. Even the announcement of the Golden Globe nominees (No. 23) and Taylor Swift's 21st birthday on Monday (No. 18) didn't quite cut it.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
Why? Because Twitter is, more and more, becoming a gaming platform -- for various games of wit. So up-from-nowhere hashtag trends that inspire a global call-and-response are now, increasingly, crowding out real trends tied to breaking news (celebrity or otherwise).

Yeah, some of these hashtag trends are timely/seasonal, like #IfSantaWasBlack (the most heavily retweeted such tweet at the moment comes from @ghostof_george: "#IfSantaWasBlack Mr. . Clause would still be white"). But other hashtag trends like #InHighSchool and #TextYouGetFromAStalker could have surged at any time of the year. They trend, basically, because somebody suddenly thought of them, other people said clever-ish, risque things in response, prompting other wiseacres to get in on the game. Political incorrectness reigns supreme in the hashtag Olympics, and as other commentators have noted elsewhere, trends like #IfSantaWasBlack tend to start in the African-American community, while the harshest gender-related responses to hashtags like #femalesneedto often come from women (e.g., "#femalesneedto stop acting sloppy when they get too drunk in the club. If you cant handle Patron, don't drink it," and "#femalesneedto Stop taking pics in the bathroom and calling themselves a model").

So there you have it, folks: Twitter: One big comedy club for thumb-typers!

Meanwhile, a few thoughts from my wise colleague Liz Pullen, trend analyst at What the Trend, about other trendy Twitter topics this week:

"Sportswise," says Liz, "people went crazy over the African soccer team Mazembe defeating a South American team, Internacional, to go into the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup. Fans of Super Junior [a globally popular South Korean boy band covered in this column repeatedly throughout the year] came out in force because they didn't win a lot of awards at a recent Korean music awards show, the Golden Disk Awards. KPop fans are incredibly devoted to their favorite vocal groups and they seemed to want to come to their defense."

"And it's interesting to me," Liz continues, "how in the past couple of years, the UFC -- Ultimate Fighting Championship -- has become a rival to the enormously popular wrestling and internationally popular boxing circuit. I think it might have something to do with the regularly scheduled large-scale events and the fact that the fighters are a very international group of athletes."

Remarkably, the UFC (at No. 10) charts higher on our list than the NFL (No. 15) -- though European football (soccer) beat them both, taking the No. 1 spot this week, thanks largely to Mazembe.

Trend Peak Position This Week Points Crowdsourced Description
1 European Soccer/Football 1 7,519 Tweets about various teams, players and matches.
2 #femalesneedto 1 3,412 People are tweeting what females need to do or say. Started by @Tahrell.
3 #ThingsSomePeopleDontHave 1 3,381 People tweet what others don't have. Skills, abilities, or material possessions.
4 #TextYouGetFromAStalker 1 3,221 Text messages you might get from a stalker. A creepy hashtag.
5 #InHighSchool 1 3,082 People are explaining what they do when they were in high school.
6 #IfSantaWasBlack 1 2,991 People are tweeting comments about Santa, relating to the changed mannerisms, ideas, sayings, clothing and vehicles, if he was of black [i.e. African, African American] skin.
7 #frequentlyaskedquestions 1 2,545 People are tweeting questions that are frequently asked by their followers or clients of a businesses, and offering answers to these common conundrums.
8 Super Junior 1 2,491 Tweets about South Korean boy band Super Junior.
9 #ImSoGlad 1 2,319 People are tweeting about things that make them feel glad. Simple as that.
10 UFC 1 2,315 Tweets about various Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters and fights.

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