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Research Shows News Outlets Key Driver of Twitter Trending Topics

LEGO Twitter Fail WhaleFor years we’ve known that a key driver of search was news coverage. This was great validation for PR professionals. It proved what they always knew, that people read news and then want to find out more. Then social media came along and we could actually “see” word of mouth spread. What do you know, PR works. Weird.

Today @ethanbauley, HP’s corporate comms, social media guy posted some new research from HP’s Social Computing Research team showing that not only does news drive much of the conversation on Twitter but that many traditional news outlet’s Twitter accounts are among the most retweeted and are key influencer themselves of what may or may not become a trending topic.

The HP team collected data from Twitter’s own search API over a period of 40 days in the fall of 2010.  From the resulting sample of 16.32 million tweets, they identified 22 users who were the source of the most retweets when a topic was “trending.”  Of those 22, 72% were Twitter streams run by mainstream media outfits such as CNN, the New York Times, El Pais and the BBC

You can read the post here or download the whole article from Scribd.

Besides being somewhat validating for PR professionals I find it interesting that news may break on Twitter but that the news outlets themselves are key drivers in awareness on a medium that usually causes them so much pain. (Ironic much?)

Photo credit by tveskov

P.S. I kind of miss the Fail Whale.
Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://www.ethanbauley.com Ethan Bauley

    As we noted on Twitter via @hpnews:

    “@jonfortt re: @HPLabs media research…it must feel good to be empirically validated #happyvalentinesday

    HP Communications

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    That’s something the PR industry doesn’t get to say very much :)

  • http://topsy.com/www.newcommbiz.com/research-shows-news-outlets-key-driver-of-twitter-trending-topics/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Research Shows News Outlets Key Driver of Twitter Trending Topics | New Comm Biz — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Craig M. Jamieson, AllThingsM. AllThingsM said: Research Shows News Outlets Key Driver of Twitter Trending Topics http://bit.ly/dRaxMJ [...]

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