Facebook releases top topics of 2011

December 7, 2011

Getting into the “year in review” spirit, Facebook has released its top 10 most-discussed topics for 2011. The social network’s data team explained that they looked at the number of status mentions per topic to figure out the list, though the company didn’t release the number of mentions associated with each story. Here are the top 10:

1. Death of Osama bin Laden: According to Facebook’s data team, more than 10 percent of English-language status updates mentioned the news of Osama bin Laden’s death on May 1, when the news broke.

2. Packers win the Super Bowl: Traffic spiked in the post-season, but hit its high when The Pack delivered their fourth Super Bowl title on Feb. 6.

3. Casey Anthony found not guilty: Facebook said that updates regarding the Casey Anthony case in Florida were common throughout the her trial. But statuses mentioning Caylee Anthony were at their highest on July 5, when her mother was acquitted of first-degree murder.

4. Charlie Sheen: This star’s public and bizarre departure from “Two and Half Men,” combined with the memes he started on Twitter, made him a popular topic in March, Facebook’s team noted.

5. Death of Steve Jobs: In October, Steve Jobs’s death prompted tributes and reflections on the Apple co-founder’s life and career. Admirers around the world flocked to Apple stores to leave their remembrances.

6. The Royal Wedding: Royal wedding fever gripped the world in April; Facebook reports that mentions of the phrase “Royal Wedding” shot up nearly 600-fold ahead of the event.

7. Death of Amy Winehouse: The early death of singer Winehouse, 27, caused a ripple on the network in October. Her death was later ruled as a case of alcohol poisoning by a British coroner.

8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: The latest installment of Activision’s wildly popular game series — the game broke the five-day sales record — prompted a lot of status messages in November. Knowing gamers, updates were likely bragging about or begging for the game.

9. Military operations being in Libya: “Libya” and “Gaddafi” were both surging trends in March as well as the United Nations started its military options in the country. But the death of the country’s dictator, Moammar Gaddafi, did not crack the top 10 list.

10. Hurricane Irene: Hurricane Irene, which hit the East Coast in August, also gathered a lot of buzz on Facebook, mostly with warnings and updates to friends and family, the social network said. Users also turned to Facebook for updates on emergency warnings.

Facebook also released a few status trends that took off in 2011. In 2010, the fashionable acronym was “hmu,” aka “hit me up.” This year, Facebook identified two acronyms “lms” and “tbh,” which stand for “like my status” and “to be honest,” respectively.

(Post Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories:

Yahoo trends: iPhone beats Casey Anthony, Kim Kardashian

Gallery: Notable deaths of 2011

Facebook’s most shared of 2011: Which Washington Post articles made the list?

Gallery: Top 10 performing galleries of 2011

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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