I’ve been running lazerhorse.org for a little while now, other than the lashings of fame and cash that it brings me, my favourite thing is the data. I know I sound like a right old geeky faced square brain, but I like graphs OK? I get a buzz when I can tell how many people from Uganda have been on my site in the last month, what pages they’ve looked at, whether it was on a PC or mobile device, the screen resolution they were using and what they were eating at the time. It’s pointless information but there’s something mad about being able to see such depth of detail about someone I will never meet.
Anyway. We are in the era of big data, millions and billions of data points being generated and saved on ever increasing storage. Whether you paid for some brussel sprouts on your credit card or bought a snazzy pair of socks from Primark, someone, somewhere, knows stuff about your actions, and the actions of those around you.
Thanks to this quivering tsunami of data, we can see what people like and don’t like, what they want to learn about and how it changes over time. If you’ve never used Google trends before I highly recommend it. Go to Google’s home page, click “More” at the top, then “Even more” from that menu. Then scroll down to “Trends“. This tool allows you to compare search terms and see how they fluctuate in popularity over time.
I know it doesn’t reflect human thoughts and desires in total, some people barely use the internet, some people are on it 24/7 and some countries have restricted use due to finance, remote location or overbearing despots. But it’s still bigger than any other data capturing tool of all time. I’ve spent some time fiddling with Google trends and I feel it shows more about humanity than perhaps we would like to know. Watch…
First, I thought I would start with a figure who has been popular for quite a while – Jesus – and see how his stats are going. The graph below shows fluctuations in his popularity from 2004 to now. The letters above the line show events. For instance ‘A’ denotes the recent story of a judge in Tennessee telling parents that they weren’t allowed to call their baby “Messiah” – LOL!
So then I wanted to see who would be more popular than Jesus? I thought long and hard, then it hit me like a bolt from the blue – The Beatles of course! Well, take a look. John Lennon was wrong all along. Or at least he would be wrong if he had said it at any point between 2004 and now.
Can anyone beat Jesus’ popularity on the internet? Ah! How about my mate Justin Bieber, the new found Lord of plop music? Yes, he was a bit of a late bloomer but he’s pretty darned popular now. Just FYI, the letter ‘N’ denotes his announcement that he is planning to write his memoirs. That might be a short book. He should take some hints from Jesus, his autobiography has done rather well over the years.
Bieber will be hard to beat… what could overcome the might of Bieber? How about the BBC? The stalwart leviathan of journalism and media…. winner:
Here’s where the story comes to the puddle in the road, the crack in the egg, the dent in the head. The journey closes here, with this glimpse into the internet at its pinnacle and at the same time at its depths….
Surely nothing can defeat porn…. well…..