Dec. 9, 2010 at 10:48 AM ET
While it may seem that news about Wikileaks is everywhere, Twitter says that doesn't mean it's going to break the top 10 trending topics in the United States.
Twitter reports that with more than 95 million tweets going out every day, the topics that break into the trends list reflect a dramatic increase in volume of those terms. Buzzfeed postulates that Wikileaks succumbed to the "Bieber Effect": "Becoming a part of the constant background noise just like love, hate, and Christmas."
The company has taken a lot of heat lately — especially this week — about whether it's blocked #wikileaks, #cablegate or other related topics from appearing in the list of top Trends.
Earlier this week, Technolog mentioned a few bloggers who have taken a lot of time to analyze the trends and algorithms, perplexed at the absence of #wikileaks from the top 10 list.
While a Twitter spokesman responded to us and others directly, the company is also responding (via its blog) to allegations that it is blocking those terms.
The answer: Absolutely not. In fact, some of these terms, including #wikileaks and #cablegate, have previously trended either worldwide or in specific locations.
In a nutshell: "Twitter favors novelty over popularity."
Which might explain why, at this moment, the top trends are: #IfIHadSuperPowers (Promoted), #songsthatleadtosex, Howard Stern, Carl Crawford, #whyrelationshipsdontlast, Jim Morrison, Urban Meyer, RHP, Rise & Grind and Giving Pledge.
More explanation, directly from Twitter:
Twitter Trends are automatically generated by an algorithm that attempts to identify topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously. The Trends list is designed to help people discover the 'most breaking' breaking news from across the world, in real-time. The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what’s most popular.
Twitter seems intent on convincing folks that trends isn't about being the most popular kid in school.
Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn’t as widespread as people believe. And, sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week.
Whatever Twitter says, some people aren't going to accept its explanations. I read this in an e-mail thread in the response Twitter sent to us, and I have a feeling she's not alone:
I notice that whilst "Assange arrested" is trending with tweets at 1 min intervals, "Wikileaks" with 100 tweets a minute is not in the trending list. So you are a liar and Twitter is being manipulated.