In Depth

The Top 10 Twitter Trends of 2011 in TV, Movies, Music, Sports and News -- A Year-End Look at the Twittersphere's Obsessions by What The Trend

By Simon Dumenco
Advertising Age

Remember What the Trend? Back in May 2009, Ad Age was the first to report on the genesis of the site, which serves as a sort of crowd-sourced trend definition service for the Twittersphere. It launched in February of that year when a young British technologist named Matt Mayer, who works in Shanghai at web/iPhone development studio ReignDesign, decided to do something about his increasing bafflement regarding Twitter's Trending Topics list. And so as a personal side project he coded a prototype of What the Trend, threw it up on the web, and soon enough the knowledgeable masses arrived to help decipher Twitter Wikipedia-style.

Mayer sold WTT that summer, and Advertising Age suggested to WTT's new owners that their little startup produce a weekly list of Twitter trending topics -- which would be more precise than Twitter's own list because WTT had the intel to group related trends together (for instance, fans of Justin Bieber might not tweet his name, but instead use a nickname or special hashtag that would be impenetrable to most non-fans). We launched that weekly charticle on AdAge.com with WTT as our editorial partner, and for more than a year we got way too smart about Twitter's collective global obsessions (South Korean boy band Super Junior, anyone?)

Eventually, WTT restructured as it started looking for a buyer, and Ad Age and WTT parted ways. The last weekly charticle we ran explained why "hard nipples" and "Atlas Shrugged" were Top 10 Twitter Trending topics.

Today, we're happy to reconnect with What the Trend, in the form of the year-in-review infographic below, which comes to us courtesy of WTT's new owner (as of September), HootSuite.

A couple notes: Harry Potter gets two spots on the movie Top 10 because so many Twitterers tweeted about older Harry Potter movies -- the movie series to date -- before (and after) "Deathly Hallows" hit theaters (in the U.S.) in July.

Also: Justin Bieber still owns Twitter. (Not literally, though. That won't happen until 2012.)

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