Alok Choudhary, the chair of the electrical engineering and computer science department at Northwestern University in Illinois, and his team analyzed the biggest trends on Twitter last year.
They found that the Gulf oil spill, the earthquake in Haiti and the Chilean mine rescue were among the top events on Twitter and that singer Lady Gaga, actor Mel Gibson and pop idol Justin Bieber were the most tweeted about people.
NPR News, The New York Times, Times.com and The Wall Street Journal were often the top influencers on politics and world events, but actor Adam Lambert, comedian Conan O’Brien and singer Ricky Martin also had an impact.
“When it comes to world affairs, politics and those types of issues, these major news organisations seem to come on top as major influencers,” Choudhary said.
But in tragic situations celebrities can reign on Twitter.
“For the topic of Haiti … singer Adam Lambert was the most influential tweeter. For the Chilean miner rescue topic, comedian Conan O’Brien was the most influential, and singer Ricky Martin was number two,” he added.
A celebrity is more likely to have an impact on a major event if he or she has a large, active following on Twitter, if they are credible and also have a passionate interest in what they are tweeting about, according to Choudhary.
His results are based on a website he developed, www.pulseofthetweeters.com, to rank the most influential tweeters using massive data mining of texts, network analysis and real-time response measures.
He said more than 75 per cent of the tweets in 2010 about Lady Gaga and Bieber were positive. But those for Gibson, who made headlines last year when angry voicemails he allegedly made to the mother of his baby daughter were released, were mostly negative.
Bieber was also the top tweeter influencer about the television show “CSI,” but the top trending topic was about Bieber’s acting role on the show.
We bring the top ten tweets of the week.
Salmaan Taseer’s killing is shocking. Killed for a liberal position. We were to stay with him in February for Faiz Centennial. Condolences to the family.
A security guard shall let you down but a Rottweiler shall never do so. I am a proud owner of the breed.
Parents, stop depending on maulvis to teach your religion to your kids. Pick up the Quran and read with them. Translations are out. No excuse.
Twitter is supposed to be fun but all I do is keep explaining press errors. It’s now tiring and irritating and no fun. Maybe I need a break.
Heard an early demo of my new single leaked. If you think that’s good, wait till you hear the real one on Tuesday.
Natalie Portman in Black Swan, beautiful performance. Excellent movie.
Camille Grammer told me all the gossip about “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” I can’t believe I wasn’t cast.
If you are having a hard time dealing with the new year, just know what happened in 2010 is the past. This year is yours to make it all better.
Live life to the fullest! You only live once!
December 31 makes it so easy to let go of past. January 1 makes it so simple to start afresh to look ahead.
With additional information from Rueters
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