Iran, Google Wave, And Michael Jackson Dominated Twitter This Year

iran-flagTwitter has just released a collection of the top trending topics on the service for 2009. For the list, they’ve broken it down into: New Events, People, Movies, TV Shows, Sports, Technology, and Hash Tags.

In the post on the matter, Twitter’s chief scientist, Abdur Chowdhury, notes the number of ways that the Iranian election situation showed up on the lists. “#iranelection” was the number one News Event term with “Iran” coming in fourth, and “Tehran” coming in fifth. In Hash Tags, “#iranelection” was number two overall. Obviously, the service is pointing this out to illustrate Twitter’s important role in the crisis, but most of the rest of the lists are populated by popular, but much less significant, fare.

For example, “Michael Jackson” dominated the People list. Following his death, Twitter, and many other services on the web were brought to their knees as people turned to the web for information. “Harry Potter” topped Movies, while “American Idol” topped TV Shows. The “Super Bowl” topped Sports.

Technology was slightly interesting, as “Google Wave” was the top term for 2009. Ever since the service was first revealed over the summer, it’s been on the Trending Topics list pretty much constantly as people have been both talking about it and looking for invites. It’s interesting that most people still don’t seem to understand (or understand how they’ll use) the service, but apparently they love talking about it. Something else interesting is that “Snow Leopard,” Apple’s new version operating system beat out “Windows 7,” Microsoft’s new operating system.

But the most interesting things on the technology list may be what’s missing. “Facebook” is nowhere to be found in the top 10. That seems pretty hard to believe — might Twitter have scrubbed its rival (which later this week will allow for publishing to Twitter) from the results? Also interesting is that “iPhone” does not appear in the top 10, but “Palm Pre” does. And what is “Google Latitude” doing on there? I haven’t heard anyone talk about that in real life, let alone on Twitter. Maybe I’m following the wrong people. Or maybe they’re following me — and tweeting about it.

The Hash Tags list is also worth looking at. It seems there is no way Twitter could have published this list without some level of scrubbing since all the hash tags listed are actually appropriate. Twitter recently talked about the need to curate the Trending Topics area of the site, and it’s clear they remove certain things that they consider to be spam.