During my end-of-year cleanup, I found an article I printed out a couple of years ago: Using Twitter to Tap into the Mood of the Planet. It got me thinking. In 2013, how much was I in step with the mood of Twitter…ergo the mood of the planet?
Here’s what I found out as I started digging.
On Twitter, the most followed account was @katyperry (she surpassed @justinbieber this year…who “dethroned” @ladygaga a year earlier). I do not follow Ms. Perry (nor the others) but more than 49 million Americans do, including 57 people I follow.
What about retweets? Of the 500 MILLION tweets sent each day, the most RT’d tweet last year—tweeted over 430,000 times—was one by Lea Michele (@msleamichele) thanking fans for their support after her boyfriend and co-star Cory Monteith died. I never saw that tweet until I started this post. However, I did see (but not retweet) the #2 most retweeted tweet—one in December that confirmed the tragic death of actor Paul Walker. That tweet was retweeted only slightly fewer times than Lea Michele’s (about 400,000).
I was 0 for 3. I felt sad and unsettled to find out that the most RT’d tweets in 2013 were sad ones…did this mean the mood of the planet was sad? I wondered if it was true for other social media—so of course I had to search.
When I referred to “#2” in the above paragraph, I wasn’t talking about hashtags… rather, I was using # in the old school sense, but it does lead me to hashtags. Let me tell you, I searched and searched (for longer than I care to admit) but could not find the top Twitter hashtag of the year. During my search, I did find the top hashtag for Instagram: #love. And in my Google search for the #1 Twitter hashtag, I was directed to the top Google search trends…where I found the Google top charts and a short video about them. It also listed top searches—broken down into categories. In the first category—“top trending,” the #1 search was again Paul Walker. (I admit I did add to that particular statistic since I did a search for his name after his untimely death.) #2 on that list was Boston Marathon Bombing, which I also searched, actually more than once (my son was living in Boston at the time).
So, for Google and Instagram, I’m 3 for 3. Although I’m not on Instagram, I’m all in favor of #love…and it’s a happier emotion than portrayed on Twitter…so I’m in step with the mood of the Instagrammians (?) on this one.
At that point in my research I realized I was only half in sync with the planet…so I wondered: what about other parts of the Internet scene? Was I in tune or not? That’s when I got a little more aggressive in my searching. What about apps for example? Turns out the #1 App Download of 2013 was Candy Crush. I’ve never played that game on my iPhone or on Facebook—so again I was out of step. What about shared events on Facebook? I’m also not in sync with the most popular event talked about on Facebook: The Superbowl. I never “talked” about it or “liked” a share about it nor did I even watch it!
I started to feel a little nonplussed. I must spend ten hours a week on social media—was I really so out of touch…so different…I mean some of these things I’d missed completely on each of the platforms. I continued to search, and what I found next re-instated my belief that I am in step with the world, at least more than I thought: the “annual list of words to be banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness” as kept for the past 39 years by Lake Superior State University. The top three words on that list are selfie, twerk, and hashtag…all of which I have heard of, do think are at least a bit overused, and yet I’ll admit here first that I have used 2 of the 3—online and even in casual speech—I’ll let you figure out which two. #embarrassing #ohno #YOLO
So what does this all mean? That I need to pay more attention? That I need to spend more time on social media? Or is it simply that I’m at least partially out of step with the planet—as proven by social media? Something I probably could’ve predicted based on the fact that often in my life I’ve been at least a little out of step with what’s hip…does anyone even say “what’s hip” anymore?
So…how’d you do with the mood of the planet? #comment #thanksforreading