This is an exhausting time of the year for our editorial partner What the Trend. The trend-tracking company — as you know if you’ve been following the weekly charticle we put together with them most Fridays in 2010 — monitors both the rank and duration of every single topic that pops up on Twitter’s global Trending Topics chart. And in the final weeks of the year, the WTT staff spends long hours trying to make sense of it all.

WTT CEO Ingo Muschenetz tells me that his team tracked more than 20,000 Twitter trending topics in 2010; they pulled the top 5,000 and then aggregated those into 1,400 topics. That approach is why WTT’s trend analysis differs from Twitter’s own year-end review. As Ingo explains, WTT uses “a combination of user-submitted and algorithmic categorizations to group individual trends into topics, allowing us to get a truer picture of why things trend.” For example, one tweet may mention an iPod, another may mention an iPad, while neither mentions Apple — though, of course, both tweets are about Apple products.

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