New This Week: The Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter

Our Friday Most Tweeted Brands Chart Gets a Rethink

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Each Friday we've been presenting a charticle titled "The Top 10 Most Tweeted Brands" -- but starting this week, we're making a change.

The truth is, deciding what is and isn't a brand has been, from week to week, an occasional contortion. Some commonly tweeted brands are no-brainers (e.g., Apple); others are less obvious (e.g., Justin Bieber, who is arguably one of the biggest entertainment brands to emerge in years, while also, of course, still being a living, breathing human being -- just a kid).

You can call him Shirley, now.
You can call him Shirley, now.
We've been leaning toward just giving you an unfiltered look at the Top 10 most tweeted topics on Twitter, 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 throughout the week. This week's surprising range of top Twitter memes inspired us to make that shift in focus official starting today. Because while you could argue that, for instance, World AIDS Day is a brand, it seems ridiculously reductive to do so.

We're also including so-called hashtag trends because they've increasingly becoming a major part of Twitter's culture. The global call and response to these often arbitrary, up-from-nowhere verbal tweet games is, simply, fascinating -- and often wildly entertaining. Consider this week's #ThingsWeCanAllAgreeOn, to which some people offered a poignant, topical rejoinder (e.g., "u should #gogettested," tying into World AIDS Day) while others offered wry, random comedy (e.g., "sumtimes the moon is too bright, it's like calm down bro, we see u").

As for the most-tweeted topic on this week's chart, NPR offers this excellent summary of what's been going on in Brazil: Rio Police Raid Slums, Clean Up Drug Strongholds

How is this chart made? See Notes, below.

Trend Peak Position This Week Points Crowdsourced Description
1 Brazilian Slum Violence 1 9,913 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) has been facing much violence. Therefore, Brazilians are pleading that Rio will find peace -- thus "Peace on Rio" (or Paz No Rio in Portuguese). BOPE, the Brazilian special-ops squad, has been invading an area of slums under control of drug dealers.
Subtrends include: BOPE, #paznorio
2 Leslie Nielsen 1 6,535 1950s & '60s leading man Leslie Nielsen, later the star of such comedies as "Airplane!," "Police Squad" and the "Naked Gun" films, died Sunday at 84 in South Florida from complications of pneumonia. You can call him Shirley, now.
Subtrends include: Airplane, Drebin, Police Squad, #leslienielsen
3 World AIDS Day 1 5,843 On Dec. 1 people observed World AIDS day.
4 #ThingsWeCanAllAgreeOn 1 4,141 Tweets about "things we can all agree on"
5 Soccer/Football 1 3,707 Tweets about various players, teams and matches
See for a complete list of subtrends.
6 NFL 1 3,656 Tweets about various players, teams and games
See for a complete list of subtrends.
7 #Why90sRocked 1 3,459 Tweeters are telling the world why the 1990s were important and 'rocked' for them -- the people, TV shows, movies, fashion, everything.
8 #makemesick 1 3,227 People are tweeting what thing or person makes them sick.
9 #2010Disappointments 1 3,003 People are sharing the disappointments they experienced or felt during 2010.
10 FIFA World Cup Bids 1 2,974 Tweets about global cities' bids to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2012.
See for a complete list of subtrends.

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.

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