Last Saturday, the world was shocked by the news of the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona that killed six and wounded 13, among them Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Twitter exploded as real-time reports flooded in, showcasing the network’s ability to spread news quickly, though not always accurately. A few major media outlets had reported that Giffords had died, and the online world took some time to sort out the facts. On top of that, discussions of whether or not partisan rhetoric had a hand in inciting the violence fanned the flames of a social media firestorm. All these factors pushed the news item into the number one trending spot for the week.
Soccer is back in at number two after a few weeks out of the spotlight. This time, it wasn’t just excitement on the field, but the activities of the athletes on Twitter itself that spurred the chatter.
A particularly interesting trend pops up in the number three slot. “Alay Style,” a method of spelling that incorporates odd capitalization, numerals and syntax, seems to have grown in popularity across the web. The phenomenon apparently stems from the Facebook profile of a teenager from East Java. It doesn’t get much more viral than that.
And on a humorous note, the recent broadcast of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on UK television reminded people just how much they disliked a certain CGI character from the much maligned prequel. Discussions of the broadcast brought the topic in at number four. Tastes in film aside, the trend shows once again that TV (old media) is still a powerful force around which mainstream discussions coalesce online — Twitter being a regular beneficiary.
For the full list of top trends, check out the chart below, compiled by our friends at What The Trend. Because this is a topical list, hashtag memes and games have been omitted from the chart.
Top Twitter Trends This Week: 1/8 – 1/14