We’re often told that social media is the new journalism, informing people of news before the so-called mainstream (or lamestream, if you prefer) media, and with more depth. And HootSuite’s list of the top Twitter trends of 2012 bears that one – as long as the news is about a sporting event or Justin Bieber.
Just two actual news events made HootSuite’s Top 10 Trends list: the U.S. election at No. 2 and Hurricane Sandy at No. 4. You may try to make a case for the Kony viral video qualifying as news at No. 9, but that was a case where social media was years behind the mainstream media on Uganda’s child soldiers. And the video likely stayed trending longer due to the un-related legal issues of its creator’s penchant for public nudity.
Otherwise, the list was sports and pop culture. It was unsurprising to see the Olympics hit No. 1, no doubt helped by NBC’s unpopular decisions as the U.S. television rights holder as much as they athletic endeavors. Soccer and the Super Bowl also made the list. The rest of the entries were pop-culture, from the MTV Music Awards and boy-band One Direction to late singer Whitney Houston.
Canada’s own Justin Bieber made the list at No. 3 – I’d like to think Toronto did its bit to move him up the list by booing his Grey Cup halftime performance here in November.