It's Twitter's Party, and It Will Make Twitter App Developers Cry If It Wants to
This week's Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter chart -- produced, as always, with our editorial partner What the Trend -- was rocked by a bit of drama within the Twitter ecosystem itself. UberMedia, the company behind the popular Twitter apps UberTwitter and Twidroyd, found its apps briefly blocked by Twitter for violations including, "but not limited to, a privacy issue with private Direct Messages longer than 140 characters, trademark infringement, and changing the content of users' Tweets in order to make money," per a statement released by Twitter. UberMedia scrambled to deal with the various compliance issues and get back into Twitter's good graces. Among the concessions it made: changing the name of UberTwitter to UberSocial.
The whole saga errupted on Twitter -- with the topic taking the 8th place on our chart -- in large part because it inconvenienced tons of Twitter users (the exact number isn't known, but UberTwitter alone is believed to be used by millions). The message was clear: Twitter can and will suddenly turn on even the biggest players in its ecosystem. It's Twitter party, and it will make you cry if it wants to, app developers. Or as I put it back in September, in regard to the overall app ecosystem:
What's increasingly becoming clear is that Facebook and Twitter will happily let barnacle-like startups cling to their hulls ... for a while. These startups, flush with VC cash, busy themselves figuring out clever hacks and complementary services that satisfy unmet consumer demand. Facebook and Twitter watch and learn, and then, if it serves their purposes, they stoically move to scrape the barnacles off while absorbing their ideas and business models, while cheerfully saying, "Hey, barnacles, we're still friends, right?!"
Fast-forward to this week: Forget about keeping up appearances of "friendship."
Twitter users, meanwhile, chose an eclectic soundtrack for this week's Twitter party, including Tween Pop (Justin Bieber, in our No. 2 spot), Dance Pop (Lady Gaga, No. 3), and Pretentious Pop (Radiohead, No. 7). I kid! I love Radiohead, the world's leading jam-band for moody snobs (like me). Really, it's totally unfair that there's not yet a Thom Yorke Pudding flavor of Ben & Jerry 's.
By the way, in regard to the rank of our Top 10, Liz Pullen, trend analyst at What the Trend, tells me she really thought Sunday's NBA All-Star Game would be No. 1 this week. "It had a zillion subtrends," she says. "But, like the Super Bowl, the All-Star Game is of interest primarily to Americans, and Twitter is increasingly becoming a global network. Musical artists transcend national boundaries, while most sports competitions are grounded in a sense of place. They are regional interests even if the game is played out on a national stage."
And to the Twittersphere's credit, the No. 1 topic of the week is the one that played out on the international stage: the Libyan uprising.
How is this chart made? See Notes, below.
|Trend||Peak Position This Week||Points||Crowdsourced Description|
|1||Libyan Protests||2||6,194||Muammar al-Gaddafi is the longtime leader of Libya and is facing nationwide protests demanding he step down. Clashes have broken out in the center of the Libyan capital Tripoli and the city of Benghazi. Colonel Gaddafi has made several addresses on Libyan state TV stating he will not resign.
Subtrends include: Gadafi, Libia, Tripoli, Benghazi, #Gaddafi, #libia, Kadhafi, Gaddafi, Saif Gaddafi, Malta, Kadafi, Green Book, Arab League, Gadaffi, Nescafe, Ben Laden
|2||Justin Bieber||2||6,187||Tweets about pop star Justin Bieber, including fans ("Beliebers") alerting other fans of a Bieber sighting. Also, a year ago, Justin Bieber posted the video for "Baby" on YouTube, thus #babyanniversary
Subtrends include: BIEBER ALERT, #riphairflip, #babyanniversary, Chelsea Lately
|3||Lady GaGa||2||5,551||Tweets about Lady Gaga, including "Queen Gaga," as she was pronounced "Queen of iTunes" on February 18th after her new single "Born This Way" topped iTunes charts with over a million downloads in 5 days.
Subtrends include: Queen Gaga, MadisonSquareGaga
|4||NBA||2||4,883||The NBA All-Star Game took place February 20 in Los Angeles as part of All-Star Weekend. There were also a lot of trades this week including the Los Angeles Clippers' trade of Baron Davis to Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and a complicated trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.|
|5||Viva del Mar Festival||2||4,752||The 52nd Viva del Mar International Song Festival ("Festival Internacional de la Cancion de Viva del Mar") is a music festival held annually since 1960 in Viva del Mar, Chile. This year it ran from February 21-26, 2011 and was broadcast for first time on the TV channel Chilevision.|
|6||#ThingsTheDevilInvented||2||4,155||People are tweeting about things that are so evil that must have been created by the devil.
Subtrends include: #thingsthedevilinvented, #inventosdeldiablo, #thingsthedevilinvented
|7||Radiohead||2||3,530||Tweets related to the release of Radiohead's latest album.|
|8||UberMedia||1||2,703||On Friday, Twitter suspended two third-party Twitter clients, UberTwitter and Twidroyd, for violating the company's policies and trademarks. UberMedia worked over the weekend on a solution that included changing the name of UberTwitter to UberSocial.
Subtrends include: #ubertwitter, UberSocial, #UberSocial, Policy Violations, Reinkarnasi, Tidroyd, Twidroid, Twidroyd Banned, Forbidden, Tweeps 'Berkicau', UberCurrent
|9||#ThatsWhyYourMyEx||1||2,683||Users are posting traits about exes that are being recalled as unfavorable, unforgiving, and downright unforgettable.|
|10||Cumannanya||1||2,366||Cumannanya is an Indonesian Twitter account that poses either/or options to followrs who Tweet back their favorites. These questions primarily involve aspects of pop culture like movies, TV shows or musical artists.|
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.