Torontonians like to tweet

By Claire Brownell, CBCNews.ca.

A new study has confirmed what the rest of Canada knew all along: Toronto is full of twits.

By twits, I mean Twitter users -- although many have argued the term “twit” is an appropriate description of people who use the service.

The study was conducted by Sysomos, a company based in Toronto that mines and analyzes conversations from online social media such as blogs, Twitter, social networks, messages, boards and wikis.

Based on an analysis of 11.5 million Twitter accounts, the study determined that Toronto has the third largest number of people using Twitter in the world. Only Los Angeles and New York have more twits, with San Francisco ranking a close fourth.

Kidding aside, what does this say about Canada’s biggest city? Are residents really twits in both senses of the term? Are people in Toronto tweeting what they ate for breakfast, as the stereotype goes, or are they using it in a more enlightened way?

Of course, the internet has an answer to these questions also. The website happn.in tracks trending topics on Twitter by location. As this blog entry goes to press, the top five topics are:

  1. Honey jam, an all-female hip hop festival
  2. Net Change Week, a week of talks and events about social media and social change
  3. Green tea. Yep… exactly what it sounds like: The antioxidant-rich Asian beverage.
  4. The Toronto Drinks Show, the summer cocktail tasting extravaganza
  5. Tim Hortons. Again, exactly what it sounds like.

So are Torontonian tweets useful or inane? Turns out it’s a little bit of both.

Three out of the five topics are upcoming local events. This is what social media proponents say Twitter does best: Promoting community, networking and spreading the word about things.

But green tea and Tim Hortons? That would seem to support the theory that Twitter is full of mundane details about people’s lives. Let’s take a look at a few of these tweets:

@lisaarmstrong88: Just spilled a full steaming cup of green tea all over my phone....oops. I'm still getting a dial tone, hoping that's a good sign!

@herlilblackbook: @LifeInHeels LOL.. The crazy woman writing in the air at tim hortons! I've done that before!

@xwishbearx: I hate you, tim hortons coffee. Why doesn't Kingston have an effing starbucks

On the other hand, I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with that. Certain things that come out of people’s mouths (keyboards?) are bound to be less than Shakespearean. I’m not particularly interested in the fact that @lisaarmstrong88 just spilled green tea on her phone, for example, but maybe her friends who follow her are.