What the Internet Says About Us, Part 2 (Some Graphs)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, you can now avail yourself of a powerful tool called Google Trends. The above charts — some but not all of which I mean to be unserious — are derived from worldwide searches of the past seven days. Below are a few observations, drawn from these and dozens more searches.

Despite the Internet, the world remains tribal — a collection of largely isolated localities. At any given moment the business uppermost in the individual mind is local business.

The so-called serious business of politics and international affairs is also heavily inflected by local conditions — and interest in it is far behind the pursuit of thrills. No surprises there.

Norwegians like Justin Bieber.

It’s sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, in that order.

The chart above, showing regional interest in sex, is probably misleading. You can substitute many variations, as I did, and get a very different result.

The fact that I did the searches in English also heavily skews the data. “Barack Obama” will be the same search across all linguistic borders, but “sex” will have many local variations of dialect.

This week, at least, the world wasn’t all that interested in Barack Obama. In fact, the United States stands apart in many of my Google searches. It’s interesting to note the grouping of nations also, for instance the similar search patterns of the Anglo-American family of nations (USA, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Australia).

Q: Is there anything on the Internet more popular than sex? A: Facebook.

This last graph answers the very important question Who loves Nutella?

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