Major Shift In Twitter Trends From 2009 To 2010

Posted on January 12th 2011

Major Shift In Twitter Trends From 2009 To 2010

So there I was on Ad Age, a common occurrence for sure, and I came across two pie charts depicting the changes in Twitter trends from 2009 to 2010... and I was blown away, in a good way that is.



The data came from, as you can see from the image above, What the Trend, the trend-tracking company that monitors the rank and duration of every single topic that pops up on Twitter's global Trending Topics chart throughout the year.

What blew me away in a good way is the fact that Entertainment went down as a trending topic and Hashtags went up... way up as a matter fact going from just 9% in 2009 to 40% in 2010.

When it comes to Entertainment.. I've written before on this topic Study Finds Celebrities Have Little Twitter Influence & Celebrities, Popularity, Influence - Part 2. For the life of me I don't understand why people follow celebrities but then again there's a lot of things I dont understand.

So I for one a glad to see Entertainent trending lower in Twitter land.

I am equally glad to see Hashtags rising as a trending topic in the Twitterverse.

What this all means, well... I'll share with you how Simon Dumenco summed it up in his column for Ad Age...  "In essence, Twitterers seem more and more interested in entertaining themselves and each other with hashtag musings than tweeting about commercially-produced entertainment."

And I ask you what could be better than entertaining yourself?

Sources: Ad Age & What the Trend

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

A regular contributor to Forbes, among other publications, Steve was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book StumbleUpon For Dummies. Follow him on Twitter@steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Marketing Cloud.

See Full Profile >


Posted on January 12th 2011 at 4:34PM

Really enjoyed and appreciated your post on the change in Twitter trends. I started Twitter when @aplusk hit a million. He got my attention and that's when I realized the power of the platform. Watching it evolve has been exciting...and realizing the business applications, marketing applications and the shift now to customer relations is the natural progression of things. Whether tweeting for personal enjoyment (does anyone really do that?) or for business, I think people are always eager to find great content. A good, insightful article, a new thought, new trends, important news, breaking matter the area of interest, it all comes down to great content. The shifts in trends, however, are what makes social media stretch to new places; and, you've shown clearly that the influencers of our lives have expanded so far beyond entertainment. Social media itself is an influencer because it's always there watching and waiting to mirror us. Thanks for showing us the shifting sands. Sometimes a step back is all we need to see where we're going! 



Posted on January 13th 2011 at 3:35AM

Interesting data. I think that the reason for the lower percents are the appearance of the new trends which use twitter as a marketing weapon. May be next year we are going to see more and more and the % will decrease for some of the first trends.

Amit Kacker
Posted on January 13th 2011 at 5:56AM

Nice article, however I have some reservations about describing hashtags as a category. Hashtags will help you categorise your tweets and not be a category in itself. The real study would be to see the categories within those hashtags (if possible) as only then it will give a clear picture of the trend.

Posted on January 20th 2011 at 5:31PM

I agree. Hashtags simply help to categorize information, they are not really a class of tweet in and of themselves. It simply means people are getting more sophisticated in their understanding of social media and the ability to "tag" tweets so they can be classified and found later on. This is a good trend, but I would not display it as a separate category in a pie chart.

Posted on January 13th 2011 at 11:38PM

Good information, nowadays i can feel that if any one want to develope their business they where using the social media and twitter is the helping tool for worldwide.

Posted on January 14th 2011 at 6:44AM

When "Hashtags" becomes a twitter topic - are those "Hashtags" broken down to state what topic was feature after the hashtag?  If a Hashtag is use it's what is important "after" it that would be interesting - any stats on the hashtag breakdown?



Posted on January 20th 2011 at 5:25PM

With 'hashtags' representing 40% uncategorized content, the rest is meaningless.  The only thing you can take away from this is that hashtag usage has increased

Posted on January 20th 2011 at 5:35PM

I prefer Hash to Hashtags.   Those charts are of dubious value, especially unknown categories among "Hashtags".

Oh,and Business/Tech declined from 11% to only 3% ???   I think not!

Posted on January 20th 2011 at 6:06PM

Interesting post!

I got curious about the details behind the 40% hashtags, what are they? I spent a few minutes on the source of the stats and what do I find… a summary of what is behind the hashtags. Guess what category most hashtags falls most likely guessed it - Entertainment! (22% or more)

You find the info here: and here:

So if I haven’t totaly missunderstood the stats, the category Entertainment has actually grown on Twitter from 2009 till 2010, opposite to your conclusion.


Posted on January 20th 2011 at 6:27PM

What could be better than entertaining yourself?   Lots of things.  Nurturing the mind with elevating ideas and thoughts that serve ourselves and our community.   Discussing news with a view to understanding than being clever.   It happens on twitter.  Not often.  But it happens. 

Posted on January 20th 2011 at 8:25PM

This doesn't really seem to reveal as much as the author purports it to reveal...hashtags can likely be sub-divided into the same categories as the rest of the tweets are classified into.  When you take out the hashtag category in the two comparisons, you find that these categories increased:

  • Entertainment by 8.2%
  • News by 2.7%
  • Sports by 2.5%

and these categories decreased:

  • Business/Tech by 6.7%
  • Other by 3%
  • Politics by 2.3%
  • Holidays by 1.4%

It would be interesting to see the hashtags categorized and these numbers re-run.

Posted on January 21st 2011 at 3:07AM

It doesn't make sense to have hashtags as a category that's like having color as a category when surveying motorists about the type of vehicle they drive. What car do you drive? A blue one! Useless. Of course, the answer "a blue '65 Mustang" would be useful...

Posted on January 21st 2011 at 4:54AM

hashtags as 'Amit Kacker; says is not a category it is a way of categorising.

What are the hastags related to.
If it is mainly entertainment then the drop in entertainment from 38% to 28% becomes less interesting.