Hot search trends can be fun to watch. As one would guess, the latest celebrity gossip often tops the trend charts. In looking at Google Trends following the May 26th season finale of "American Idol," it was clear to me that I wasn't the only viewer that had stopped watching. At 10:45 pm EST that night, the first mention of "American Idol" in the Hot Searches ranked #16 on the list. Yet just a few seasons ago, you could look at Hot Searches and predict "Idol"'s winner. Looking back to the Hot Searches for May 26th, "American Idol" did fare a bit better by the night's end, with a #6 rank on the list for American Idol winners. Close behind at #7 was Brett Favre's favorite pants on the ground.
On a more serious note, as a Florida resident I am appalled by the lack of response to the oil spill that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico. It has been weeks since any queries related to this awful mess have shown in Google Trends Hot Searches. I have come to think that there is a reason for this, though; it is missing because the search volume wasn't temporary. In fact, Insights for Search suggests interest did decline a bit initially, but as of late has increased. You see, it started on April 20th and now it is June. It is sad but true, this topic is no longer an anomaly.
There have been some self-serving attempts for attention on Twitter, Facebook and CafePress by users trying to make light of the situation or capitalize on those who have a newfound disgust for BP. There was even a Firefox pluggin that would black out BP references on your screen. What is interesting to me,though, is that #oilspill continues to rank prominently in Twitter Trends.
Twitter, for many people, is a news source. It is the ideal platform for quickly transmitting snippets of information and having it spread like wildfire if the topic is worthy of spreading. (The definition of "worthy" is loose. Worth, in this case, is defined by the masses.) I am glad that tweeters have kept the oil spill at the forefront of important topics and I hope it continues until there is resolution. First, we need the oil to stop gushing, but then there will be a long, hard and depressing recovery from this disaster.
So when you see BP's warm and fuzzy PR campaign, which I saw on television this morning, keep in mind that this problem isn't fixed. And regardless of the fact that it is no longer a "hot trend," it is a "hot topic."