Here's a hint -- it wasn't Brexit. In fact, according to research from Taboola, Brexit was dwarfed in 2018 by that British favourite -- football, or soccer if you prefer. It doesn't matter how much the news anchormen and women bring us back to the UK leaving the EU -- when it comes to people being masters of their own content consumption, Brexit came in third.
In top spot, by quite some margin, the World Cup took up most of our content-reading hours, followed by that other rock of British society, "Love Island." I've only glimpsed the show for about ten minutes, but it seems to be about a bunch of beautiful, well-toned young men and women coupling up and then decoupling in favour of someone else so the presenters have something to talk about. For me, it's the most pointless show on tv, but the British public clearly love it.
In fact, in terms of reach, "Love Island" is just ahead of the World Cup, with 28% of the public reading articles about the show, compared to 27% looking up info about the World Cup. In contrast, 15% of Brits chose to engage with Brexit content and just 8% were reported to be looking up information online about the Royal Wedding just 8%.
It's worth remembering that this survey only looked at 100,000 web pages, and so does not represent the entire internet. It's also worth pointing out, however, that both the World Cup and "Love Island" are time-limited events. They are only likely to generate intense interest for a couple of months, whereas Brexit is obviously a year-round topic.
It's also worth mentioning this on the day after the Government suffered another Commons defeat on Brexit that will pale into insignificance if next week's vote on the Withdrawal Agreement is lost, as it would appear it will. It's the first defeat on a finance bill for a British government in more than forty years and underscores how high tensions are ratcheting up in Westminster.
That may be what makes this research for 2018 so refreshing -- and, dare I say, very British. Two a half years after the country voted to leave the EU, the main content we are interesting in online isn't our politicians claiming to be the voice of reason or the way forward.
From the research it's very clear that while there is some interest in politics, the majority of Brits want to keep on reading football and who is engaging in a bit of slap and tickle with whom. Plus ca change, as our friends in Brussels would probably say.