Twitter is the Top Word 2009

Maybe people on Twitter are “not normal”, as TechCrunch writes, but the site has already had a huge impact. In an annual survey by the Global Language Monitor of the top words among 1.58 billion English-language speakers, Twitter came out on top in 2009. Twitter was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, Vampire, the suffix 2.0, Deficit, Hadron, Healthcare, and Transparency.

“In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words. Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor.

twitter logo

I don’t know what it says about the world, but this year’s winner is quite different from several of the previous top words.

2008: Change
2007: Hybrid (representing all things green)
2006: Sustainable
2005: Refugee
2004: Incivility (for inCivil War)
2003: Embedded
2002: Misunderestimate
2001: GroundZero
2000: Chad

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A majority of tweets positive to Obama’s Peace Prize

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic The unexpected decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committe to award U.S. President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 caused a flood of reactions on Twitter. Several people in my Twitter stream were highly critical and for example Simon Sundén noted that the deadline for the Peace Prize nomination was only 12 days after the inauguration of Barack Obama. Simon also posted this photo of the front page of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet today. Headline “What a joke!”.

Then again, you might only see what you want to see, so it’s interesting to read this fresh study from a company called Attensity. They analyzed some 25,000 tweets about the Prize and found that a majority, or 62%, of tweets were positive.


According to the analysis, 54% of the tweets felt Obama deserved the Peace Prize.


I don’t know whether the results from the analysis are accurate or if they include several languages or not. But either way, it is a good example of how you can use the Twittersphere as a giant focus group. If you have the right tools, it’s possible to quite quickly take the temperature on how people react to a news story. Sure, Twitter users are not representative of the entire population but they are the ones who are vocal and influence others so it might be good to know their reactions.

Update: On the other hand, Mashable also looked at what people tweeted and found that a majority of those tweets “didn’t get it”. It is however not disclosed what methodology Mashable used. Did they just analyse those four phrases, or what? (hat tip to @Daria)

The conclusion is that there is a vast amount of data on Twitter to be analyzed, but you need to know what you’re doing, or you might just as well turn to palm reading.

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Carl Bildt’s blog a success

In my latest Swedish blog survey (pdf), the favourite type of blog among male readers was blogs about politics and society (69.9% like to read about this topic). So it is not surpising that Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, has had a lot of visitors to his blog. During the last two weeks he claims to have had 100,000 visitors , a number few other Swedish blogs can match, if any.

And speaking of politicians who blog, this comparison between the websites of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton is quite interesting. Obama’s site is the only one that is equipped with connections to Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. Something for Bildt to consider?