Two weeks after Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing unveiled their lists of top searches for 2010, Twitter and YouTube followed suit, with their lists of hottest trends and most watched videos, respectively.
For Twitter, the Iranian elections proved to be the hottest topic, with users tweeting about the controversial elections en masse.
The terms #iranelection, Iran and Tehran were all in the top 21 of Trending Topics, and #iranelection finished in a close second behind t#musicmonday, Twitter Chief Scientist Abdur Chowdury said in a company blog post.
Twitter tabulated seven categories that people seemed to congregate around: news events, people, movies, TV shows, sports, technology and hash tags, those Twitter-specific signifiers to aggregate tweets users post around a specific topic.
Leaders in those respective categories were the aforementioned #iran election, Michael Jackson, who passed away in June, Harry Potter, American Idol, Super Bowl, Google Wave, that quirky real-time collaboration platform; and #musicmonday.
See Twitter's hot trends lists here. Not surprisingly, some of these hot topics mirror popular results from the major search engines. Michael Jackson led searches on Google, Yahoo and Bing for 2009.
Google's YouTube video-sharing site meanwhile is a user-generated video phenomenon like no other.
YouTube's most watched videos were: Susan Boyle - Britain's Got Talent (120+ million views); David After Dentist (37+ million views); JK Wedding Entrance Dance (33+ million views); the New Moon Movie Trailer (31+ million views); and Evian Roller Babies (27+ million views).
YouTube also posted lists of fastest rising searches by month around the world and in the U.S. See those complete lists here.
In the U.S., Christian Bale captured watchers' interests in February after a video surfaced of him pitching a fit on a film set. Michael Jackson's Thriller video, a pop-music classic, dominated June, following his passing. Paranormal Activity, a low-budget indie suspense film, captured peoples' minds and eyes in October.
Two highly publicly figures sandwiched the year's most popular video searches in the U.S. and abroad. U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration was the top searched video in the U.S. and worldwide in January, while Tiger Woods' scandalous affairs caught everyone's attention in December.
What makes YouTube, well, YouTube is its adherence to letting users broadcast themselves doing silly, fun, cool and interesting things on Webcams and handheld camera and uploading that content online. But Google hasn't effectively made money from this content at a rate commensurate with the billions of hours of video uploaded on the site each month.
Reuters reported that Google is considering trying to get users to pay for subscriptions, ideally to encourage more media companies to license premium TV shows and movies to the popular online video site. This would help Google compete with the wildly successful Hulu site, the NBC Universal, News Corporation, and Disney video provider, which does offer such content.
But it would also chart an course that is as yet unknown for YouTube: long-form, professional content for a fee. Will YouTube users pay for such content? They do for Hulu, but is YouTube too late?