A list of "10 most powerful tweets" of the year calls into question how powerful tweets actually are. Also, Twitter didn't stick to 140 characters in describing them! Way to show confidence in the product, Twitter!
First of all: no, the real-time Good Friday passion of the Christ did not make the cut. Nor did any of the Palinisms heard round the world. Rather, Twitter's official list (culled from 25 billion) is an odd mix of effective messaging (Ann Curry rallying for Doctors without Borders; Leigh Fazzina calling for help after a bike accident) and random announcements — the White House's welcome to Medvedev; the royal engagement; and, um, Conan O'Brien's comedy tour.
Together, sure, they paint a picture of the medium's capabilities (limitations?) but "powerful" is a bit of an overstatement. How many people were following the British Monarchy's official Twitter feed, after all? Yes, Twitter becomes a useful shorthand for disseminating information, but at its most useful, it's about interaction, whether that's problematic — the woman who came under twitter fire for tweeting while her child died— or collegial or hilarious.
More instructive — not to mention, interesting — is a look at the year's top trending topics, which do give a good portrait of 2010 in review (or at any rate that of twitter-addicts.) They were:
1. Gulf Oil Spill
2. FIFA World Cup
4. Haiti Earthquake
6. Apple iPad
7. Google Android
8. Justin Bieber
9. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
10. Pulpo Paul
While the last three — not to mention the total absence of any number of burning issues — might give pause, that list could only be 2010 in all its tragedy and triviality. Not to mention, Pulpo Paul's entire lifespan.
Top Twitter Trends For 2010 Led By Gulf Oil Spill [The Next Web]
The Most Powerful Tweets Of 2010 According To Twitter [Mashable]