Thursday, December 22, 2005

What the World wants to know

I’ve previously blogged about Myspace, a ‘social networking’ site that is playing an increasingly large role in the social lives of modern American youth (i.e. teens and twenty-somethings). They see no distinction between socialising online and socialising face to face – and that in itself is Big. Well, it turns out that Myspace was the number one top gaining search term in Google’s 2005 Zeitgeist. If that’s not testament to a massive shift in the social norms and behaviours of society's single most important demographic, I don’t know what is.

I had to look up the word ‘zeitgeist’ the first time I ever heard it, so here’s a quick definition for anyone who doesn’t know (taken from
  • Zeitgeist: n The spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation.
The Google Zeitgeist is Google's summary of what people have been searching for (and when) over a period of time. It's normally published monthly. There’s a whole bunch of really interesting stuff in the Google Zeitgeist, but it’s important to remember what it doesn’t tell you. Most glaring is the fact that its primary sources are the wealthy Western and Asian nations where net access is common; sadly, the vast majority of the World’s population are far too poor to have access to this amazing tool.

But, that aside, this is a very cool thing indeed. It turns out that ‘Janet Jackson’ was the most searched for term on Google News in 2005. Who’da thunk it? Of the top ten Google News search terms in 2005, eight are to do with celebrities and entertainment; the other two were ‘Hurricane Katrina’ and ‘tsunami’. Oh, the world we live in.

You can check out the rest of the Zeitgeist for yourselves. I'm a high-level thinker; I love looking at the big picture, global trends and thoughts and projects – it’s just the way I’m programmed. And for that reason, I think it’s awesome that we can get a window on the thoughts and interests that have been uppermost in our collective mind over the past year.


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