Twitter announced Monday that its Trends feature — which is a good way to keep tabs on unfolding natural disasters or the whereabouts of cobras, chickens or coyotes loose in metropolitan areas — has expanded to include more locations, including New Orleans. Now when you log onto Twitter, you can see the top things New Orleanians are tweeting about, along with what's trending in the U.S., the world, or a selection of other American and international cities.
So what's trending in New Orleans right now?
Seems to be a pretty accurate sampling of the usual trending topic fodder: newsy things/things of actual interest ("LEAP," as in the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program test), sports things ("Hornets"), something or someone that doesn't make sense ("Gee"**), a promotional item ("PlayBookHaiku") and then a few things that will cause you to curse humanity. You see, this is the dark side of what can be a useful feature, these complete-the-sentence-style hashtags that often become trending topics. I'm not talking about those fun hastags that require some creativity (such as this or this). I'm talking about the ones that — upon clicking — open a Pandora's box of bad grammar, racism, misogyny and general stupidity. Click current trends #itssadwhen, #itiswhatitis, #waitaminute for myriad examples. (Also, Jezebel did a good roundup of the endlessly sexist responses from the #RulesForGirls hashtag that was trending in January.)
New Orleans' inclusion in Twitter's relatively small list of American cities in its Local Trends means we're a city generating enough tweets to be included. Also, this inclusion is right in time for the height of festival season, when Twitter is buzzing with camera phone shots of mango freezes and people/dogs wearing ridiculous hats. However, there's the flipside of realizing the sad underbelly of the Twitter hivemind may very well consist of our neighbors.
I guess #itiswhatitis.
**UPDATE: I've been told "GEE" stands for the Louisiana Graduation Exit Exam. This whole time I thought it was what came before "Whiz" or a misspelling of the Indian cooking fat. Sorry about that!