Twitter's blog post this week announcing their top hashtags of 2011 says everything you need to know about the service—and its mix of the interesting and the mega-banal.
Egypt was one of the most-discussed topics on Twitter in 2011, and for good reason, as the uprising to remove Hosni Mubarak played out on social media before our eyes. On the other hand, the other top-ranking hashtag was #tigerblood, reminding us all that there was a time when the world stopped to try to figure out what was going on with Charlie Sheen.
The top topics for music are an equally mixed bag, with the 2011 deaths of Nate Dogg, Gerry Rafferty and Gil Scott-Heron pushing their names into trending topics—but Rebecca Black and Femme Fatale (which I had to Google to realize it was the title of Britney Spears' latest album) made the top five as well.
So this is what we're stuck with: Twitter's great when it works well, and a waste of pixels and bandwidth when used by someone who doesn't have much to say.
Are you dying to know what movie is showing at the Playboy Mansion tonight? Check out Hugh Hefner's feed. On the other hand, the next time news breaks, it'll be on Twitter well before you see it in any other news format. It's just a matter of trying to find the signal amidst the noise.
We watched Herman Cain exit the presidential race, despite the protests from his Arizona campaign chairwoman, state Sen. Lori Klein, who assured CBS News that Cain had never hit on her, "and I am not an unattractive woman"; observed the GOP race spiral downward with news that Donald Trump would be hosting a Republican debate; watched Ron Paul go after Newt Gingrich; and watched in astonishment as Rick Perry goofed up again.
We let you know that former state lawmaker Nancy Young Wright was considering a run for the Pima County Board of Supervisors; told you that the city clerk wanted City Council candidate Jennifer Rawson to return $32,000 in public campaign funds; and brought you the latest Arizona Illustrated Political Roundtable, moderated by Jim Nintzel.
We noted that Arizona ranked 47th out of 50 on a list of best-run states compiled by The Wall Street Journal; followed news out of the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Phoenix; and shared poll results that showed Arizonans were warming to gay marriage, and like Arizona State more than the UA.
We shared conjecture about this year's Great Cover-Up; told you how you could help a kid get a bike for Christmas; brought you other bicycling news of the week; advised you on how to get Section 8 housing assistance; imagined that the life of a door-to-door meat salesman must be tough; and noted that competitive eater Cardboard Shell had devoured the Bacon and Craeggs challenge.
We let know what songs our music writers selected for your listening pleasure; hooked you up with our medical-marijuana columnist, J.M. Smith, on Facebook; measured penis size across Europe; hungered for gingerbread houses; and praised The Arizona Republic's decision to do away with anonymous comments.
We celebrated the launch of Arizona Public Media's Ready TV; wondered if anyone should develop a board game centered on dog shit; discovered that most supermarket shoppers are inconsiderate jerks; told you how to help us get our Spring Arts Preview together; and wondered if Wonder Woman was sitting on our couch.
"Who is Larry? Not sure what his product is here, but I see that it cost a buck. I just bet it's really tasty."
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter "colshan" isn't familiar with Larry the Cable Guy, and is willing to eat his food ("Goodbye, Society. It Was Fun While It Lasted," The Range, Nov. 29).
Like every other blog on the planet, The Range is obligated to participate in some year-end reflection, right? It's a little strange to look back on the first post of 2011 (Josh Morgan discussing tech trends for 2011) and think that a week later, the only thing that we'd be covering on The Range for awhile would be a shooting at a Safeway. We'll look back on some of our favorite posts of 2011 over the next few weeks—both the serious stuff and our in-depth Insane Clown Posse coverage. If there's something in particular that stands out, let us know, and we'll include your input somewhere.