The Kal Penn Effect Hits Twitter


What subjects, you may wonder, are most Tweeted about? If you said technology, you would pretty much be right. Apple, iPads, iPhones, iPhone thefts or alleged thefts, cops breaking into journalists’ homes to retaliate for alleged iPhone thefts… all of these topics would be, and were, and are, big hits on Twitter. In the week of April 19-23, they garnered 37 percent of links.

But Pew Research (and the wonderful chart after the jump) reveals a heretofore unknown force in social media. No, not the volcano.

We’d like to call it the Kal Penn Effect.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple… But look at that second column! Little did tweeps know back on April 19 that the D.C. mugging of one very special member of Harold and Kumar — and former associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement — would shake Tweetdom to its core and change everything we thought we knew about social media, garnering 9 percent of links that week.

After that, nothing was sacred. Not a one of the remaining stories of the week were technology-focused.

News about the conflicts between anti-government protestors and the military in Thailand was third at 6%. Several stories about the British elections finished fourth at 5%, including a report in The Sun that the blueprint for the debate plan for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was discovered in the back of a taxicab. And fifth, also at 5%, was another story about the U.K. that highlighted the increase in the number of unemployed people in Britain to 2.5 million.

Note that even though Penn was able to alter the very fiber of Twitter by getting mugged in our nation’s capital, he hasn’t actually tweeted himself since July 4, 2009. And, nothing against the military, but it wasn’t very exciting.