Justin Bieber, World Cup, Haiti, iPad top 2010 trends on Facebook and Twitter

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In the footsteps of Google, which posts a yearly zeitgeist of the most searched terms, Facebook and Twitter have decided to unpack some of their trends of the year from tweets and status updates.

To measure trends in Facebook’s status updates, data scientist Lars Backstrom looked at words or phrases in terms of the ones that grew most in status updates compared to last year. And the result? “Highs and lows of world events that started a global conversation, new uses of language online, and the sharing of popular culture between friends,” reveals Backstrom.

In similar fashion, Twitter posted its own top ten trends. The complete trend lists, including breakdowns of categories, can be found here.

As a comparison, both trend lists match up particularly well. The FIFA World Cup, Inception, Haiti earthquake, iPad, and Justin Bieber, seem to have found their way onto both. Missing surprisingly from Facebook’s list are the Oil Spill and Pulpo Paul the Octopus, which may be due to the fact that they were largely termed in 2010 itself, and the equally surprising topper was “HMU” — short-hand acronym for “hit me up.”

Worth noting is that while Facebook’s list measured trends relative to their weight in 2009, Twitter’s looked at 2010 alone. Also, Twitter maintains a trending list visible to all its users, which may more or less perpetuate the trends themselves. In contrast, Facebook’s status updates are mostly implicit and spread naturally from user to user.


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