Because of my interest in digital news and the long term fate of the news industry I've become interested in the things people are actually doing on the web in mass numbers. A good way to track this is by regularly reading Google Trends and twitter's trending list. Google trends reflects the things which are getting the most searches, and twitter's trending list is items which have seen a big jump in tweets.
I'm going to focus on Google Trends in this article.
I had no idea why ESPN3 was at the top of the list until I did a quick web search (adding my vote to the "trending" nature of the topic). I still don't understand why a streaming sports network beat out the VA hospital scandal or events in the Ukraine. But that has more to do with my own news consumption than it does with the tastes of the public at large. And the public's taste, in aggregate, is what's important.
Jay Carney's resignation as White House press secretary is number 3 on google's list. I'm a very political person, but I have to admit that the resignation of a press secretary is not high on my list of stories to follow. I am glad that something besides sports ranks high on the list, though.
I don't follow basketball, but it isn't surprising to me that the Spurs are on the top five list. Whether I'm interested in the NBA playoffs or not, a lot of other people obviously are.
I had to do a web search to determine who Eva Green is. But when I did the search, and saw the words "erotic", "poster", and "banned", I didn't even have to read the rest to get the gist of the story. Sex still sells.
One thing has become evident to me while perusing Google Trends. While the list may give me insight into what is in the public eye, it's doubtful that I'm going to choose topics to write about based on the list. By definition a lot of people are writing about the items on that list, and adding to the general media noise isn't interesting or helpful.
But the lists are fun to read and think about.