I thought it might be interesting to plot two very different trending topics over time using Twitter Trending Topic data. I imagined the twitterverse would be caught up in a pop culture vortex anticipating Taylor Swift’s new album, but in fact, all it took was one Ebola case in the US to turn it into a massively trending topic. Ebola has trended 78709 times this month, while Taylor Swift has trended only 3253 times. Obviously this is not a fair or appropriate juxtaposition, but I went ahead with it anyway.
For the Taylor Swift plot, a key date is Oct 21st when Taylor Swift accidentally released 8 seconds of white noise on iTunes in Canada, topping the Canadian charts. Oct 12th she made TV appearances and announced that she would release a new single on Oct 14th.
For the Ebola plot, a key date is the first death from the virus in the US on Oct 8th—leading to a huge spike in twitterverse. On Oct 13th, a nurse who became infected was identified and revealed to be on the road to recovery, and there is another spike.
I used the top locations where Taylor Swift was trending for both plots. Below is the full list of top 10 for each topic. Interestingly, Ottawa is the most on top of both of these trends.
# of times “Ebola” was in the Trending Topics this month:
New Orleans 1464
San Antonio 1274
Dallas-Ft. Worth 1236
# of times “Taylor Swift” was in the Trending Topics this month:
Kuala Lumpur 140
Salt Lake City 75
San Diego 71
It might be more interesting to try to plot the tone of the phrases people use in regards to these two topics. I’ll save that for another day.