Last Week's Top Twitter Trends: Waffle House Warfare (And, of Course, Binders Full of Women)

HootSuite's Twitter Week in Review, Oct. 12-18

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Our Twitter Week in Review chart uses data collected and parsed for Ad Age by the What the Trend (WTT) unit of HootSuite, the social-media management dashboard with more than four million users. (Our last chart is right over here.) We're back today with Volume 29, and now the list is more focused than ever, with coverage of the top tweeting trends in the U.S. only. Scroll down below the infographic for some context, and watch for a fresh edition of our Twitter Week in Review each Friday.

  • The top trend in the U.S. happens to be a brand, but it's nothing to celebrate. The popular Georgia-based restaurant chain Waffle House made news after a brawl that occurred in one of its Atlanta locations was recorded by a bystander and posted on the controversial shock site The fight broke out after one patron hurled a homophobic slur at another and was promptly attacked. (He didn't appear to be seriously hurt.) The video, which became a hit on Reddit and spawned coverage across a number of media outlets, already has more than a million views.

    Although the incident was ugly, the whole thing may have actually generated some good publicity for the restaurant: Waffle House has subsequently seen a swell of favorable chatter among hungry fans on Twitter.

  • It's no surprise that one of the buzziest byproducts of the latest presidential debate -- which was watched by a staggering 65 million people -- also managed to be one of the week's most-tweeted about phrases. During the debate, in response to a question about his plans to advance equality for women in the workforce, Republican nominee Mitt Romney responded with an anecdote about how he once sought gender diversity on his team by reviewing "binders full of women" as potential candidates. The statement immediately lit Twitter satirists ablaze, and within minutes the phrase emerged as a bona-fide meme -- and another rhetorical thorn in Romney's side as he fights to earn more favor from undecided women voters in the last weeks of his campaign.
  • Another debate-related item on the list: Joe Biden, whose performance in the vice presidential face-off, though criticized by Romney supporters as rude and smug, earned favorable reviews by his fellow Democrats. Indeed, most media outlets declared Biden the net winner against Republican challenger Paul Ryan, and if Twitter were any indication, that victory would be all but confirmed. (Though the debate occurred during the prior chart's measurement window, much of the discussion took at the beginning of this chart's window. )
  • Interestingly, #SNL's place on the chart this week has almost everything to do with the debates. With the election just weeks away and the candidates gunning harder than ever, all eyes are on "Saturday Night Live" parodies of the latest campaign gaffes.
  • Finally, our latest chart highlights an example of a trend starting for one reason but evolving as it grows. #ForTheRecord started as a fan-organized promotional campaign surrounding the new episode of Fox's sci-fi drama "Fringe." The phrase was designed to create interest around the premise of the episode, titled "The Recordist," which deals with a micro-society of hermits who make it their mission to record historical events. But it was soon co-opted as a more general meme, with users posting completely unrelated statements using the hashtag #ForTheRecord for posterity.
  • For explanations of trends and memes not covered above, visit HootSuite's What the Trend.
Help HootSuite's What the Trend define trends by following WTT: Define Now (@whatthetrend). And stay up to date on the latest HootSuite product-update details and company news by following @hootsuite.

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