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2/16/2011
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Twitter Trends Driven By Mainstream Media

Traditional news outlets are more influential than bloggers and individual tweeters, says an HP Labs analysis of 16.32 million tweets on 3,361 topics sent over 40 days.

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The Gulf oil spill, the World Cup, the movie Inception, the earthquake in Haiti, and the noise-making vuvuzela from the World Cup in South Africa headed Twitter's top trends list of 2010, according to Twitter. In the people category, tween heartthrob Justin Bieber took the top spot, while Dilma Rouseff and Lady Gaga came in second and third, respectively. Inception was the most-often mentioned film, seconded by the latest Harry Potter, and followed by Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Twitter said.

"Each day on Twitter, people tweet about news, sports, entertainment, and cool new technology -- and everything else in between. The list of 2010 Twitter Trends reflects what's happening in our world, demonstrates the power of turning any event or story into a shared experience, and underscores Twitter's value as a real-time information network," said Jodi Olson, of the corporate communications department at Twitter, in a company blog in December, when the list was released.

Twitter trends have been questioned, most recently during the height of the WikiLeaks news in December. Despite the organization's headline-making release of U.S. government documents, WikiLeaks did not appear on Twitter trends.

"This week, people are wondering about WikiLeaks, with some asking if Twitter has blocked #wikileaks, #cablegate or other related topics from appearing in the list of top Trends," said Carolyn Penner of Twitter communications, in a company blog in December. "The answer: Absolutely not. In fact, some of these terms, including #wikileaks and #cablegate, have previously trended either worldwide or in specific locations.

"Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn't as widespread as people believe. And, sometimes, popular terms don't make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn't increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week," she added.

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