News Column

Twitter's Top Trending Topics of 2011--Justin Bieber Takes Top Spot

Dec 6, 2011

Rebecca Villaneda--Staff Writer

Justin Bieber was top trender of 2011 on Twitter.

Justin Bieber owes his Beliebers--big time! The bubblegum pop star was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in 2011, according to What the Trend –- a HootSuite Media company.

So what's a trending topic on Twitter anyways?

A trending topic is the list of words or phrases to the right of your Twitter timeline. It can be U.S.-based, worldwide or changed to a specific state in the U.S.

The topics are generated by tweeters who write the phrase or keyword.

According to Twitter itself, "Twitter's Trending Topics algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help people discover the 'most breaking' news stories from across the world. We think that trending topics which capture the hottest emerging trends and topics of discussion on Twitter are the most interesting.

From news stories to the latest buzz about movies, music and more, the trending topics reflect what new or newsworthy topics are occupying most people's attention on Twitter at any one time."

And a hashtag, or this little guy: #, helps Twitter users filter through all posts, and hone in on that particular key word so that they can join in on the trending topic and write their own comments.

What the Trend analyzed 207,518 Twitter trends to determine the top trending topics of 2011. "To capture the conversation, localized trend information was compiled every 5 minutes from Twitter and the What the Trend community added context with user-contributed definitions. Reviewing the resulting list gives a unique view of social media's impact on all aspects of culture," according to the website.

In addition, the report was compiled by taking the leading trends and grouping them by topic (i.e. #jan25 and #egypt were both added to the Egypt Protest topic) "in order to create Top 10 lists for movies, US TV shows, musical artists, sports leagues, and world news--as well as an overall list which included definitions for the varied mix of pop stars, holidays and sports," according to What The Trend.

So what other newsworthy or popular trends captured Twitter user's timelines?

No. 2: Soccer/Football, which could be attributed to the fact that Twitter en español (@twitter_es: 7,335,172 followers) still has more followers than Twitter (@twitter" 6,961,169 followers) itself. Because we all know that Hispanics love their futbol.

No. 3 Lady Gaga: American performer
No. 4 NBA: sports
No. 5 Jonas Brothers: American music act
No. 6 Christmas: holiday
No. 7 Super Junior: Korean boyband
No. 8 Britney Spears: American pop entertainer
No. 9 Japan Earthquake: natural disaster that hit the country in March 2011
No. 10 One Direction: British-Irish boyband

For more information about the list, visit

Source: (c) 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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