Home Twitter Trends in 2009: A Retrospective

Twitter Trends in 2009: A Retrospective

Although the daily trends on Twitter over the past year have often been silly or even obscene, hindsight has proven to be much more interesting.

WhatTheTrend has compiled a great overview of Twitter hashtags and trending topics. Their Twitter Zeitgeist 2009 gives us food for thought as we move into a new, hopefully less gaming-prone era of examining and measuring what real users are really talking about on the social web. Now, let’s talk about Twilight and Michael Jackson. Or, in the choose-your-own-adventure model of blog posts, you can skip to the part where we talk about tech-related trending topics instead.

One of the most notable uses of any social network to date was the role of Twitter in the Iranian election/debacle/bloodbath. The U.S. State Department even made a call when Twitter was scheduled for maintenance downtime during the pursuant protests because the messaging service had proven so vital to the democratic process in that country. The worldwide buzz – and the sudden surge of green-tinted user icons and locations changed to “Tehran” – make #iranelection the number one Twitter trend of 2009.

In an interesting convergence between mainstream Internet use and high-tech geekery that only Google could engineer, Wave appears in the number four spot for top Twitter trends. And we have a pretty good idea that Twitter users’ out-and-out begging for an invite provided the bulk of that talk. As our loyal readers know, the ReadWriteWeb team is divided on whether Wave is a win or a fail so far, but there’s no doubt that this tech launch was one of the hottest this year.

In a stunning and welcome upset, #musicmonday pulled ahead of #followfriday, besting the well-known but spam-heavy hashtag by four places (Monday landed in the second position, Friday in the sixth). Is Follow Friday, a charming concept created with the most harmless intentions by our dear friend Micah Baldwin, simply a trend that has seen its day? Or is there something about taste-making and multimedia content curation that draws users to simply participate more?

Also, there are the films. New Moon, the second in the Twilight franchise, earned a number five spot in the rankings. We are grateful that our sole experience of these tweets are a brilliant collection of snarks from professional lampooner, newly minted TV pretty boy and TheOnion.com web editor Baratunde Thurston. Also-rans are Paranormal Activity, a horror flick that turned a $15,000 budget into around $80 million in box office receipts, and the latest Harry Potter movie. Finally, as a longtime Trekkie, I am happy to report that the new Star Trek film beat out Bruno by around 20 places in these rankings.

Both the Palm Pre and BlackBerry were mentioned in the top 100 trends, and one of our top ten international apps, Spotify, earned a number 63 spot on the list for consistent chatter and news throughout the year. Bing and Google Voice each earned a spot lower on the list, coming in at 81 and 100 respectively.

Finally, to nod graciously in the direction of our good-natured rivals at Mashable, their Open Web Awards were the 27th most talked-about thing on Twitter this year. For a topic that didn’t appear until mid-October (and for a topic generated by a tech blog, no less), this is a great measure of success for which Pete Cashmore and his team are to be congratulated.

To get the full list, send an email to the folks at WhatTheTrend.

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