Big media still rules when it comes to Twitter, it seems. Hewlett-Packard researchers have been looking into where Twitter’s Trending Topics come from, and the answer may be somewhat depressing to those convinced that the internet is all about democraticizing information.
According the HP report, Trending Topics are all about the retweets, with as high as 31% of a TT consisting of retweets instead of original content. They’re also shortlived, with the average length of time they remain popular being less than 40 minutes, and tend to come from mainstream media sources; in a 40-day period, 72% of the most popular – and retweeted – tweets came from media outlets like CNN, the New York Times and the BBC (which, to some degree, makes sense – People are still attuned to repeat what they consider comes from some voice of authority, such as media institutions), a finding that mirrors the recent GlobalWebIndex Wave report that suggested that the internet was turning users back into passive consumers, instead of producers in their own right. Obviously, Twitter needs to be stopped before it’s too late.
The full report is available to download here.
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