2011’s Top Trends: Earth vs. Sky

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Twitter promotes light and fun, while Facebook digs deep into the hard issues

Bad play on words, I know, but Facebook wall posts versus Twitter tweets makes for an interesting metaphorical comparison, don’t you think?

Anyway, I recently took a look at the top trend statistics Facebook and Twitter provided for 2011. Since both vie for most popular social media outlet, it makes them a big deal for clients who want to utilize social media for company marketing and PR. As I went through the two lists, I saw that Twitter received the most retweets and mentions from light, happy topics, while Facebook users spent most of their time posting about the grittier, serious topics that concern our society.

Here’s the quick summary. In 2011, Facebook and Twitter had very different top trends in some of their similar categories: global trends, TV shows and musicians.

Top Facebook Trend 2011

  • Global Trend: Death of Osama bin Laden
  • TV Show: House
  • Musician: Rihanna

 Top Twitter Trends 2011

  • Global trend: Justin Bieber
  • TV Show: Glee
  • Musician: Justin Bieber

There were a few categories where both outlets intersected though.

  • #1 News Story: Japan’s earthquake/tsunami
  • #1 Movie: Harry Potter (Twitter specified it to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2)
  • #1 Sport: Soccer

While Twitter shared all the same trend categories with Facebook, the latter included additional stats (more characters make the difference, I suppose). For example, since Facebook lives and breathes memes, they were able to highlight the top meme and acronyms for 2011. The top meme was planking, where people posted pictures of themselves lying facedown in unusual places. The top acronyms in people’s statuses included lmh (like mah status) and tbh (to be honest)–I’m intrigued by the possible nuances of the latter’s use.

Facebook also recorded CNN as the top news outlet, Megan Fox as the top actor and Dr. House as the #1 fictitious character of 2011.

All in all, Twitter came out with way more lighthearted top trends than Facebook. I mean, Justin Bieber over Osama bin Laden? Maybe they were just 140 characters of speechlessness that day. It is a little limiting, that little blue bird. Or maybe there were too many different hashtags to describe bin Laden’s death: #binladenisdead, #deadterrorist, #goseals, #yayobama–so forth and so on.

What this means for companies like our clients and anyone else interested in using social media for marketing and/or PR purposes? Make sure you know your audience and spend more time on the appropriate social media outlet.

Data for infographic provided by mashable.com


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