Twitter is like a collective consciousness for our nation. In real time, it tells us what Americans are talking (tweeting) about. And it's often unflattering.

For example, Justin Bieber, who has been trending on Twitter for roughly 17 years uninterrupted -- and he's only 16 (take that Chuck Norris and Bill Brasky). In response, Twitter decided to update its algorithm to reflect what's "immediately popular," rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis.

Naturally, Asylum wondered how Twitter's new policy would change the landscape of trending topics. So we recorded the trending topics from New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago over the course of a workday on June 2 and compared them. Also included after the jump are some random bits of information and celebrity Twitter drop-ins (Gary Busey Twitter alert).



9 a.m. Trending Topics:

The major trending topics at this time were #ifhiphopwashighschool and #idontappreciate.

The user @MyCoolMcGee got over 100 retweets for his remark: "#ifhiphopwashighschool Waka Flocka,Gucci Mane,OJ Da Juiceman,SouljaBoy & Nicki Minaj would be in Special Ed."

In Los Angeles, people where discussing undesirable female habits when Gary Busey chimed in with "#Ihatefemaleswho tYpE n SpElL DeY tExTz n TwEetS lYk DiS." Click here if you want to read more tweets from a completely unhinged Gary Busey.

Marlon Wayans added: #ihatefemaleswho got pimples on their buttcheeks. Get some anal proactive quick.

Notice that early on in the day both New York and Dallas showed an #everlastingfriends trend, a reference to the fan club of a South Korean boy band named Super Junior; fans were celebrating the fourth anniversary of the club's foundation (which explains some of Dallas's other trends).

Both New York (where it became the #2 topic) and Dallas (#1 at 9 a.m. EST) have large Korean populations, and eventually the other two cities (which also have large Korean populations) picked up the trend by 1 p.m. but it fell off the radar in all cities by 5. By contrast, it never became a topic in Boston, Seattle or Washington, D.C., so there is most certainly an element of regionalism when it comes to Twitter trends.

And yes, Bieber and his newest single managed to outsmart Twitter with "Never Say Never," which trended in Dallas.



1 p.m. Trending Topics


The major hashtagged conversations continued throughout the day, and by midday news broke about AT&T's new data plans, @daily_finance: AT&T Hangs Up on Unlimited Wireless Data Plans.

People came out on both sides of AT&T's move:

@Francesco T: Random thought: AT&Ts new data plans are downright BS. These phone companies dont know when to stop ripping people off!

@RoxShershin likes the new plans: Just analyzed my bill and it turns out the new AT&T data plans will actually save me money (1/2 off). I can't believe I use <200MB/month!

@MoneyMaker0970 offered an objective take: New AT&T data plans milk data gluttons, lower costs for most.

MoneyMaker0970 also provides a completely irrelevant link to information about poker playing, trying to capitalize on the trending topics to divert traffic from unsuspecting users.

@middle8media makes this common gripe: AT&T just keeps getting worse. What a joke of a "network". When will Apple give us choice. #bestphoneworstnetwork

Meanwhile, word spread of a horrific mass killing in Britain, where 52-year-old Derrick Bird went on a rampage with a sniper rifle and a shotgun over 45 miles of the northeast county of Cumbria, killing 12 and wounding 25, eventually killing himself. There's no clear motive at this time but some reports suspect that financial trouble or a feud over a will set Bird off.

@ndashing said: Oh wow what cave have i been in this afternoon. WTF is going on in Cumbria. This gun crime sh** is not ENGLISH... stay in America.

This topic was trending only in Dallas of the four in the diagram. Perhaps Texas, a state where firearm ownership is more prevalent, is more attuned to incidents of gun violence?



5 p.m. Trending Topics:

Chicagoans remained excited about the Blackhawks 2-0 lead over the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. (Chicago now has a 3-2 series lead.) Local sports, not surprisingly, seem to draw trends when those teams are in action.

And in Los Angeles, Thundercats took its rightful place among the top 10 topics after a new series was announced.

The major hashtagged conversations continued. Once these hash-tagged conversations start, people chime in whether or not they have something relevant to say just to be heard. It's an echo chamber of re-tweets and nonsense that keeps topics afloat for hours and days.

#That'sallfornow.