Facebook reveals UK's most talked about topics of 2010
Facebook has revealed the UK's leading trends of 2010, led by this summer's disappointing Fifa World Cup in South Africa, as identified by the social networking site's status updates.
The Facebook Memeology study looked at what terms grew the most in status updates in 2010 compared to the year before.
There are 26 million Facebook users, or at least registered accounts, in the UK so the findings do provide a unique and comprehensive insight into the sporting, TV and cultural moments that prompted national conversations.
The site, which has been plagued by privacy concerns and petitions this year, was at pains to stress all personally identifiable data was removed from the status updates to conduct the analysis.
However, Facebook analysts concluded that more than anything else, people wanted to spend time with their friends and family. The fastest growing trend was the use of a new digital shorthand for people to ask their friends to hang out.
Facebook’s top status trends of 2010
Fifa World Cup 2010
The event that captured the imagination of the nation was the World Cup, which was discussed more than three million times. Subjects that divided opinion did well, with the vuvuzela rising rapidly up Facebook’s list of popular status update phrases in 2010.
Sport was a key interest – the leading sportsperson was Wayne Rooney, whose prolonged contract negotiation led to enormous levels of discussion on Facebook. Rooney was trailed by his England colleagues Joe Cole, Emile Heskey, John Terry and Rob Green, whose World Cup calamity led him to Facebook infamy as it was discussed by thousands of people.
The X Factor
In the worlds of music and entertainment 'X Factor' was king. While not making it to the final, the Brazilian Wagner led other contestants, with a number of supportive groups and pages driving discussion of Wagner past that of prime minister David Cameron, despite 2010 being an election year. The next most discussed 'X Factor' contestants were Cher Lloyd, One Direction and Matt Cardle.
Facebook has always been a place where people share the music they love with friends, and 2010 was no exception. If a Facebook music chart were to exist without 'X Factor', it would undoubtably be topped by Tinie Tempah, with The Wanted and Ellie Goulding some distance behind.
Increasingly, Facebook has become a mirror that reflects the opinions of millions on popular subjects. While TV may be the way that people unwind in the evening, it is quickly becoming a more social experience. The dominance of some TV shows in 2010’s Facebook words prove how the UK is becoming a two screen nation, where people watch TV but use their laptop or smartphone at the same time to share their views about the shows with their friends on Facebook.
The TV shows 'Celebrity Juice' and 'The Only Way Is Essex' captured the imaginations of people on Facebook, while the participants in the final series of 'Big Brother', including John James and Josie Gibson, driving a substantial amount of discussion – no other contestants came close.
Politics and poppies
People on Facebook didn’t just discuss music, TV and sports however – the year’s discussion was heavily influenced by more serious subjects, particularly politics and the general election.
Despite Nick Clegg’s rapid surge in Facebook support prior to the election, it was David Cameron who attracted the most attention from people on Facebook. The Conservative party led the Liberal Democrats by a slim margin, despite the Lib Dems attracting more people to their fan page during the election period.
Facebook was also used by many people to express support for British troops fighting overseas, with a surge in conversations encouraging people to purchase a poppy in the run up to Remembrance Sunday.
And the weather...
It is a common adage that British people talk of little else other than the weather – but despite one of the coldest winters on record, generally weather didn’t appear in Facebook discussion.
The only weather phenomenon which inspired discussion was April’s Ash Could which rapidly became one of the most discussed subjects across the platform as friends used Facebook to keep in touch as Europe’s transport network shut down.
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