Was the biggest news story this year really Susan Boyle? That depends largely on what you consider news. Today, both YouTube and Twitter announced 2009's top trends according to what people are posting. The results are not really surprising, but it is interesting to peek into this huge data set. It gives us a better understanding of the direction in which the collective consciousness is evolving – likes and dislikes, causes we stand for (#iranelection), what really ticks us off, and what mildly annoys us. If analyzed carefully, this perspective may hold the seeds to what (exactly) makes an item go viral, which is sort of the holy grail for today's marketers.
Let's start with Twitter. Twitter trends are never surprising because you can see them every day under “Trending Topics” on the screen. If you are a Twitter addict (and I am not), then nothing on the list will seem newsworthy. The top Twitter trends across all categories were - the Iran election, Michael Jackson, Harry Potter, American Idol, Super Bowl, Google Wave, #musicmonday. So much for hard news. And gee, what happened to health care reform, the Obama Presidency, Irag and Afghanistan? (Next, someone will tell us the Tiger Woods scandal is actually important news.)
The real story here and the most amazing thing about Twitter is the way it has evolved over the span of a year, and how its users have contributed to the evolution. Take # tags, @, RT - these were invented by users. Twitter literally tapped into the wisdom of the ubiquitous "crowd." It is also a great example of the power of Web 2.0 and crowd sourcing. The graphic below demonstrates all the top Twitter trends this year.
Next, we have YouTube, which offers two lists:
1). Most watched Video (YouTube video and music video)
2). Fastest Rising YouTube search term by month (Global & U.S.)
Susan Boyle wins the race hands down with a whopping 120 million views followed by “David After Dentist”Pitbull “I Know You Want Me” followed by Miley Cyrus “The Climb” with 37 million. Note – Susan Boyle also holds 2nd place in the Twitter trends of “People,” just after Michael Jackson.
Most Watched YouTube videos (Global):
1. Susan Boyle – Britain’s Got Talent (120+ million views)
2. David After Dentist (37+ million views)
3. JK Wedding Entrance Dance (33+ million views)
4. New Moon Movie Trailer (31+ million views)
5. Evian Roller Babies (27+ million views)
Most watched YouTube music videos:
1. Pitbull “I Know You Want Me” (82+ million views)
2. Miley Cyrus “The Climb” (64+ million views)
3. Miley Cyrus “Party in the U.S.A.” (54+ million views)
4. The Lonely Island “I’m On a Boat” (48+ million views)
5. Keri Hilson “Knock You Down” (35+ million views)
Google, Bing & Yahoo have also come up with their top searches for 2009. You can check them out here:
I don't know about you, but I am not always "up" on the latest or greatest at Twitter and YouTube. As a mass communications professional, I think it is important to keep abreast of what's going on on-line. Just consider the numbers. Millions upon millions of people took the time to log on and watch each of the videos listed. This is how popular culture changes.
That's your on-line year in review. Do you have an opinion or a favorite? Please share.