The Talk of Twitter in 2010…So Far

Although 2010 is only a month old, there’s been no lack of news –the earthquake in Haiti, the continuing soap opera surrounding superstar golfer Tiger Woods and his string of affairs, the stunning box office success of Avatar, and the National Football League playoffs.

To get a handle on the most active conversations, Sysomos explored more than 100 million tweets from Jan. 1 to Jan. 15 within six categories: people, locations, film, business, sports and misc entities.


Barack Obama was the most talked about person amid growing criticism of how he has performed during his first year as U.S. president. Lady Gaga, one of the world’s most popular singers and performance artists, was second, while Michael Jackson was third amid reports that prosecutors were looking at laying involuntary manslaughter charges against his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. Pat Robertson was fifth after he claimed the earthquake in Haiti was a result of a “pact with the devil” made by Haitian rebels when it was a French colony.


It was no surprise that Haiti was the most talked about country amid the tragic earthquake that happened on Jan. 12. It is estimated that the total number of deaths may be as high as 200,000.


The most talked about movie on Twitter was Avatar, which has attracted worldwide ticket sales of more than $1.85-billion, making it the highest grossing movie of all time. The three-dimensional film, which won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama earlier this month, is expected to receive a Best Picture nomination when the Oscar nominations are announced on Feb. 2. Sherlock Holmes, the second-highest grossing movie behind Avatar over the past few months, attracted the second-most attention. The only person to rank among the top-15 film keywords was Edward Cullen, an actor who stars as a vampire a character in the popular Twilight film series.


YouTube attracted the most conversations as Nielsen reported that it had 105.5 million unique U.S. visitors in December, who watched 6.4 billion videos. Facebook, which now has more than 350 million registered users, was the second-most talked about business, while Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were third, fourth and fifth respectively.


The National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals, which won its second division title since 1990, were front and centre on Twitter following the death of wide receiver Chris Henry, who died after falling out of the back of his fiancée’s pick-up truck. It was noteworthy that three of the top-five most talked about sports teams – the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and New York Knicks – had suffered through or are currently having terrible seasons.

Miscellaneous Entities

iTunes was a dominant theme on Twitter, likely because of the intense speculation that the much-speculated Apple tablet computer would have the same impact on books that iTunes had on the music industry.  The iPhone OS, which ranked fifth, also benefited from the Apple tablet chatter. WordPress was fourth after it unveiled a fairly significant update to its popular blogging platform.

Methodology: We analyzed more than 100 millions tweets collected by our crawlers during the first two weeks of January. We used Sysomos’ semantic text analysis technology used to extract lists of above-mentioned entities. The algorithms are intelligent so they can take into account different variations: e.g., Barack Hussein Obama II, Barack H. Obama, or just Obama when referring to U.S. President Barack Obama. Using this analysis, we were able to find how many times each of these entities occurred within these 100 millions tweets, and then rank them based on how often they were mentioned.

16 Comments on “The Talk of Twitter in 2010…So Far”

  1. Pingback: What Twitter Talked About Before the iPad: Haiti, Obama, Lady Gaga and Avatar -

  2. The Bengals’ surprise showing here is very interesting. Shows how something off-the-field can have a huge impact on overall chatter volume. Definitely a corporate lesson there.

  3. Jay,

    I guess the tragic death of Chris Henry played a significant part in the Bengals’ top spot.

    Thanks for the comment.


  4. Pingback: Os mais falados de 2010 no Twitter | Mídias Sociais

  5. with the most talked about topics appearing to be about fame and stardom, what does this say about all of us? i’d love to see the most talked abut topics being about positive change….

  6. Actually, “Edward Cullen” is a character, not an actor. The actor who plays him is Robert Pattinson. Just thought I’d help you guys out with some popular culture references

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  13. I like the Avatar 3D film, particularly the story line, not solely it brings a completely new feelings but eye opening ideas of humanity. I heard the New Avatar 2 is comming soon, cannot wait to see it again…!

  14. Pingback: Top Twitter Trends January 2010 - Web Analytics World Blog

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