What have the Irish Googled in the past ten years? Death, sex and gossip
Popular search terms give a fascinating glimpse into the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger
2007: Anna Nicole Smith. Source: cbsnews.com
By 2007, the Irish were old hands at the social media lark, with Skype topping the “what is” search list and new kid on the block Facebook making an appearance in the search terms list. The Big Questions still preoccupied the populace, with queries like “what is strategy” and “what is communication” near the top of the list. Reflecting the Celtic Tiger burnout, many people asked “what is work?” and “what is philosophy?”
People searches were largely somber, with the deaths of Irish model Katy French, Luciano Pavarotti, Chris Benoit and Anna Nicole Smith, and the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann all making the top ten.
2008: Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Source: Google Images
By 2008, the world economy was headed for a meltdown, and there are a few hints in the top Irish search queries. While the JJ Abrams monster movie “Cloverfield” tops the list, it is followed by questions about stress and sociology, PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods).
New technology is on the horizon, with questions about 3G service for mobile devices. Apparently, everybody’s mom started using email all of a sudden, because there are a lot of panicked queries about what exactly is Bcc. Facebook again topped the popular search terms list, though the country’s large Polish immigrant community pushed Polish social network Nasza Klasa to number two.
On the people side, the list is happily light on dead celebrities, though the late Heath Ledger nudged out U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama for the top spot. Was Sarah Palin number three? You betcha.
2009: Natasha Richardson. Source: People.com
Financial collapse and its associated anxiety left their mark on 2009, with “What is Nama (National Asset management Agency)” and “What is Chronophobia (fear of time)” coming in at first and third, respectively on the list of searches. “What is sleep” and “what is cancer” are also on the list. Looking at the topics list, people were having trouble remembering their “Facebook login” (number one) either because they were distracted by bargain hunting on “DoneDeal” (number two) or dipping their toes into Twitter (number three).
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