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What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2017 Edition)

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

A Wordle (wordle.net) of the top 100 things people said they were giving up for Lent this year on Twitter.

This year, alcohol topped the list for the first time; it’s been hovering in the top five for the past few years, last year landing at a then-record #3. Possibly the recent popularity of Dry January (according to the article, 16% of British adults participated in 2016) is carrying over to Lent.

“Chips” cracked the top five this year largely because British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she was giving them up for Lent. This announcement had knock-on effects lower down the list, with “her favourite thing” and “live mice” both coming in at #88. The announcement of the potential closure of a U.K. chip factory the next day led to further jokes. For my U.K. readers, yes, I know you call them crisps (and your “chips” are U.S. “French fries”); I would now tell myself in 2009, when I first started compiling this list, not to combine “chips” and “crisps” into a single line, but it’s too late now.

Donald Trump is a big winner this year, landing at #22, just behind “Facebook” but ahead of “hope.” “The presidency” comes in at #52. In all, there are 1,002 tweets mentioning “Trump,” “President,” and “POTUS,” which is good enough for #10 on the list if we were to combine them all into a single line.

“The dirtiest thing” (#66) refers to a campaign to give up non-renewable energy.

This year, 73,334 tweets (excluding retweets) specifically mention giving up something. This total is up from last year’s 60,000 tweets; I used broader search terms this year (“lent” and “lent2017”) than I have in the past. In all, this year the analysis covers 694,244 tweets, up from 200,000 last year–again, largely because of the broader search terms.

Rank Word Count Change from last year’s rank
1. Alcohol 2,396 +2
2. Social networking 2,148 0
3. Chocolate 2,143 -2
4. Twitter 2,064 0
5. Chips 1,416 +15
6. Swearing 1,395 0
7. School 1,189 -2
8. Soda 1,186 -1
9. Fast food 1,092 +1
10. Sweets 990 -2
11. Coffee 969 -2
12. Meat 909 -1
13. Lent 906 0
14. College 894 +5
15. Beer 888 +8
16. Bread 691 0
17. Sugar 660 -5
18. Life 645 +11
19. Sex 612 -1
20. You 609 -5
21. Facebook 594 -7
22. Donald Trump 520 +62
23. Hope 456 +31
24. Work 442 +3
25. Boys 433 -1
26. Religion 406 +4
27. Junk food 401 -6
28. Homework 393 -6
29. Pizza 373 -12
30. Smoking 296 +5
31. Candy 288 -5
32. Cheese 284 +4
33. Marijuana 267 +6
34. Starbucks 265 -6
35. Catholicism 259 +12
36. Ice cream 249 -5
37. Cookies 227 +1
38. F***boys 220 -13
39. Wine 219 -2
40. Being petty 212 +21
41. Instagram 210 -8
41. Breathing 210 +22
42. Rice 209 0
43. Carbs 202 +5
43. Fried food 202 +6
44. Makeup 201 +2
45. Shopping 190 +3
46. People 189 +4
47. Virginity 185 +12
48. Red meat 184 +3
49. Stuff 180 -5
50. Snapchat 168 -16
51. French fries 166 -6
52. The presidency 164 +82
53. Procrastination 159 +3
54. Men 158 +18
55. Sobriety 156 +5
56. Liquor 155 +6
57. My will to live 154 +77
58. Food 150 -15
58. Negativity 150 -3
59. Takeout 148 +7
60. Dairy 144 +6
61. McDonald’s 143 -8
62. Booze 141 -4
63. Masturbation 138 -8
64. Netflix 136 -32
64. Hot Cheetos 136 -1
65. Eating out 133 +6
66. The dirtiest thing 132 +28
67. Complaining 130 -10
68. Desserts 126 -16
69. Caffeine 125 -19
70. Coke 124 -9
71. Lying 123 +15
72. Sleep 115 -2
73. Him 114 +3
74. Feelings 108 -22
75. Fizzy drinks 103 -12
76. My job 99 +15
76. Juice 99 +1
76. Chick Fil A 99 -8
77. Pasta 95 -12
78. Pancakes 94 -7
79. Nothing 91 +14
80. Online shopping 89 -17
81. Naps 88 +9
82. Church 87 -1
83. Living 86 +43
84. Memes 83 +27
85. Cake 82 -15
86. My phone 79 -33
87. Stress 78 -14
88. Eating live mice 77  
88. My attitude 77 -10
88. Caring 77 -24
88. Her favourite treat 77  
89. Abbreviations 75 +41
90. Politics 74 +3
90. Sweet tea 74 -2
91. Potatoes 72 0
91. Classes 72 +10
92. Boba 70 +10
93. Christianity 69 -13
94. TV 65 -11
94. Sarcasm 65 -20
95. Taco Bell 63 -20
95. Donuts 63 +6
96. Oxygen 62 +18
96. Porn 62 -24
97. Studying 60 -9
97. My boyfriend 60 +3
97. The gym 60 +8
97. Diet coke 60 -30
98. Everything 59 -11
98. Anxiety 59 +13
99. New Year’s resolutions 58 -20
100. Chipotle 57 -31
100. Pork 57 -16

Fast Food

Chipotle now lands behind even Taco Bell.

In n Out continues its rise.

Snack Food

Hot Cheetos continue their snack-food dominance.

Potato chips are up a little because of Theresa May.

Adulting

It’s a verb now. Or at least a gerund.

Adulting overtakes being an adult this year.

Emojis

Just over 14,000 tweets (19%) included an emoji this year. I haven’t tracked emoji usage before, so I can’t say how that compares to previous years.

Here are the top five emojis used this year, along with the most-popular items given up:

Emoji Tweets Most-popular Given Up
😂 2,428 chocolate, alcohol, twitter
😭 1,154 chocolate, sweets, fast food
😩 889 chocolate, sweets, fast food
🙃 875 chocolate, coffee, fast food
🙄 640 chocolate, alcohol, social media

Conversely, here are the most-popular things given up with tweets that include emojis:

Given up Tweets Most-popular Emojis*
chocolate 793 🍫 🙈 😫
social media 549 ✌ 👋 🙏
alcohol 537 😅 ♀ 😬
twitter 482 ✌ 👋 🙏
sweets 355 😅 🍬 🍫

* Excluding the top-ten emojis for the year.

Retweets

The rest of this data excludes retweets, but here are the three tweets mentioning Lent that drew the most retweets. I feel that this list encapsulates Twitter; not many other top-three lists would include college humor, the pope, and Rick “Never Gonna Give You Up” Astley.

Categories

Here are my categories for the top 740 things people gave up:

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 17,017
2. technology 5,659
3. habits 4,962
4. smoking/drugs/alcohol 4,880
5. irony 3,495
6. school/work 3,470
7. relationship 2,541
8. sex 1,179
9. religion 1,055
10. politics 911
11. generic 679
12. entertainment 447
13. shopping 407
14. health/hygiene 328
15. money 279
16. sports 152
17. possessions 103
18. clothes 64
19. weather 28
20. celebrity 20

Media Coverage

The Lent Tracker received some media attention this year:

  1. Christianity Today
  2. International Business Times
  3. The Sun
  4. Daily Herald
  5. Baptist News
  6. Cleveland.com
  7. Pajamas Media
  8. Catholic News Service

Track in Real Time What People Are Giving Up for Lent in 2017

Monday, February 27th, 2017

See the top 100 things people are giving up for Lent in 2017 on Twitter, continually updated until March 4, 2017. You can also use the Historical Lent Tracker to see trends since 2009, though 2017 is still in flux, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions about 2017 yet.

As I write this post, with about 1,600 tweets analyzed, perennial favorites “social networking,” “alcohol,” and “chocolate” lead the list. My main question, given the current U.S. political climate, is how high Donald Trump will rank: he’s currently vying with smoking and sugar for #24–last year, as a presidential candidate, he finished at #82.

Look for the usual post-mortem on March 4, 2017.

What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2016 Edition)

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

The top 100 things that people on Twitter are giving up for Lent in 2016.

This year, more people are giving up chocolate than anything else; last year’s favorite, school, dropped four places to #5.

Several were topical: TOPS came in at #40, referring to Louisiana’s discontinuation of the college scholarship program of that name. Presidential candidate Donald Trump came in at #82, while “running for president” came in at #84, referring to the withdrawal of candidates Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina from the race after disappointing results in New Hampshire. “Politics” came in at #91.

Big gainers this year are “indifference,” at #51, and “being petty” at #59. The former follows Pope Francis’s Lent message from last year, which a few media outlets picked up this year.

The total number of tweets, around 200,000 (with the 60,000 non-retweets specifically mentioning giving up something serving as the basis for this analysis), dropped in half from last year’s total. I don’t know whether people are using Twitter less or if Twitter is throttling the data available in their API. Either way, much less data is available this year than last.

Rank Word Count Change from last year’s rank
1. Chocolate 2,235 +1
2. Social networking 2,115 +3
3. Alcohol 1,904 +1
4. Twitter 1,903 -1
5. School 1,565 -4
6. Swearing 1,413 0
7. Soda 1,112 0
8. Sweets 1,003 0
9. Coffee 881 +1
10. Fast food 870 -1
11. Meat 793 +3
12. Sugar 792 +18
13. Lent 654 0
14. Facebook 624 +7
15. You 607 -3
16. Bread 603 +3
17. Pizza 541 +1
18. Sex 489 -2
19. College 459 -8
20. Chips 453 0
21. Junk food 439 -4
22. Homework 410 -7
23. Beer 369 +3
24. Boys 367 -2
25. F***boys 344 +3
26. Candy 313 -3
27. Work 301 +2
28. Starbucks 291 -1
29. Life 283 +4
30. Religion 278 -5
31. Ice cream 267 +1
32. Netflix 255 -8
33. Instagram 243 -2
34. Snapchat 239 +6
35. Smoking 225 0
36. Cheese 221 +13
37. Wine 220 -1
38. Cookies 218 0
39. Marijuana 193 +3
40. TOPS 179  
41. Rice 177 +3
42. Food 170 +6
43. Stuff 161 +7
44. French fries 160 +12
45. Makeup 157 +21
46. Catholicism 156 +1
46. Shopping 156 -3
47. Carbs 150 +5
48. Fried food 137 +11
48. People 137 +9
49. Caffeine 133 +18
50. Red meat 127 +10
50. Feelings 127 -9
51. Desserts 121 +4
51. Indifference 121 +124
51. My phone 121 -6
52. McDonald’s 118 -1
53. Hope 114 +10
53. Negativity 114 +15
54. Masturbation 110 +7
55. Procrastination 109 +9
56. Complaining 108 +9
57. Booze 107 +10
58. Virginity 104 -12
59. Sobriety 103 +5
59. Being petty 103 +104
60. Coke 102 -2
61. Liquor 97 +22
61. Hot Cheetos 97 +21
61. Online shopping 97 +29
61. Fizzy drinks 97 +12
62. Breathing 96 +15
63. Caring 91 +29
64. Pasta 90 +29
64. Dairy 90 +38
65. Takeout 89 +3
66. Diet coke 86 +9
67. Chick Fil A 84 +4
68. Chipotle 82 -29
68. Sleep 82 +11
69. Cake 79 +1
69. Eating out 79 0
70. Pancakes 78 +6
70. Porn 78 +4
71. Men 77 +16
72. Stress 75 +37
73. Sarcasm 71 +15
74. Taco Bell 70 +12
74. Him 70 +24
75. Gluten 68 +25
75. Peanut butter 68 +5
76. Juice 67 +19
77. My attitude 66 +64
77. Cruelty 66  
77. Tea 66 +7
78. New Year’s resolutions 64 +20
79. Christianity 63 +29
80. Church 62 +21
81. Sixth form 61 +88
82. TV 60 +24
82. Donald Trump 60  
83. Pork 58 +42
83. A levels 58 +14
84. Running for president 57  
84. Exercise 57 +16
85. Lying 55 +41
86. Everything 52 +24
86. Being mean 52 +11
86. Sweet tea 52 +5
87. Studying 51 +24
88. Chicken 50 +16
89. Naps 49 +5
89. Dunkin Donuts 49 -4
89. Potatoes 49 +28
89. God 49 +29
90. My job 48 +32
91. Nothing 46 +5
91. Politics 46 +100
92. Tinder 44 +41
93. Laziness 42 +35
94. Being single 41 +20
94. Being nice 41 +27
94. Hoes 41 +31
95. Girls 40 +10
95. Benefits 40  
96. Math 39 +10
96. Selfies 39 -34
96. Losing 39 +35
97. Bacon 38 +18
97. My boyfriend 38 +4
97. Dieting 38 +53
97. Dating 38 +60
98. Elevators 37 +32
98. Classes 37 -20
98. Buying makeup 37 +76
98. Going to school 37 +21
98. Donuts 37 +8
98. Plastic 37 +85
99. Jesus 36 +32
99. Boba 36 +28
99. Her 36 +19
99. Football 36 +83
99. Trying 36 +54
99. Snacking 36 +11
99. My feelings 36 +45
100. Tacos 35 +65
100. Lint 35 +24
100. Guys 35 +29

Social Media

Snapchat passes Instagram for the first time this year. WhatsApp continues to rank surprisingly low given its popularity.

Fast Food

Chipotle’s well-publicized food-safety woes reversed its trajectory this year.

Chipotle falls below McDonald's after passing them last year.

Snack Food

Hot Cheetos show no signs of slowing down.

Hot Cheetos continues to outpace other snack foods.

Boba

Boba, or bubble tea, is the new beverage of choice, apparently.

Boba has been steadily increasing compared to regular tea.

Categories

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 15,459
2. technology 5,021
3. habits 4,299
4. smoking/drugs/alcohol 3,513
5. school/work 3,235
6. relationship 1,974
7. irony 1,812
8. health/hygiene 908
9. sex 902
10. religion 738
11. generic 577
12. entertainment 462
13. politics 374
14. relationships 344
15. shopping 341
16. money 147
17. sports 125
18. celebrity 78
19. possessions 70
20. weather 57
21. clothes 49

Media Coverage

The Lent Tracker received some media attention this year:

  1. Naples Daily News
  2. Times Union
  3. Independent
  4. Spokesman-Review
  5. Kansas City Star
  6. Fox 8 Cleveland
  7. Irish Central
  8. Newstalk
  9. Knoxville News Sentinel
  10. Des Moines Register

Track in Real Time What People Are Giving Up for Lent in 2016

Monday, February 8th, 2016

See the top 100 things people are giving up in 2016 for Lent on Twitter, continually updated until February 13, 2016. You can also use the Historical Lent Tracker to see trends since 2009, though 2016 is still in flux, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions about 2016 yet.

As I write this post, with about 2,000 tweets analyzed, perennial favorites “chocolate,” “alcohol,” and “social networking” lead the list. Currently, “cruelty” is #6, reflecting a campaign by PETA UK asking Christians to go vegan for Lent. With the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday and several U.S. presidential candidates likely to withdraw from the race, I’m expecting jokes about how the candidates are giving up their presidential aspirations for Lent.

Look for the usual post-mortem on February 13, 2016.

What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2015 Edition)

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

The top 100 things that people on Twitter are giving up for Lent in 2015.

“School” once again tops the list of things Twitterers are giving up for Lent, with over 5% of tweets mentioning it. This year’s list is quite stable compared to last year’s, especially in the top ten.

My hypothesis last year was that “school” was so high because Ash Wednesday coincided with spring break at many schools, but that isn’t the case this year. In the UK, A-Level exams are coming up at the beginning of March, so that may be part of it.

Another surprise for me this year, given the cold weather gripping the northeastern United States, is that weather-related tweets aren’t more popular; as a category, they move up one place from last year (to #12 from #13), though individually “snow” moves up eight places and “cold weather” moves up 79 places.

Hot Cheetos continue their run, making the top 100 for the first time.

The biggest surprise to me is #12, f***boys. I wasn’t familiar with this term before, and I’m still not totally sure what it means. Knowyourmeme.com says that it’s “used as a pejorative toward men who are perceived as oversexed or disrespectful toward women,” while also serving as a meme involving skeletons on Tumblr. It’s easily the biggest gainer this year.

This list draws from 409,000 tweets during February 14 to 21 that mention giving up something for Lent and, except as noted, excludes retweets.

Rank Word Count Change from last year’s rank
1. School 6,281 0
2. Chocolate 4,293 0
3. Twitter 3,876 0
4. Alcohol 3,216 +1
5. Social networking 3,090 +2
6. Swearing 2,887 -2
7. Soda 2,473 -1
8. Sweets 2,122 0
9. Fast food 2,056 0
10. Coffee 1,706 +4
11. College 1,631 +27
12. F***boys 1,527  
13. You 1,462 +5
14. Lent 1,348 -4
15. Meat 1,335 -4
16. Homework 1,208 -4
17. Sex 1,165 -2
18. Junk food 1,112 -5
19. Pizza 1,067 +1
20. Bread 1,060 -3
21. Chips 905 -5
22. Facebook 853 -3
23. Boys 665 +6
24. Candy 625 -2
25. Netflix 610 +12
26. Religion 602 -2
27. Beer 596 +5
28. Starbucks 591 -7
29. Work 575 -2
30. Sugar 565 +15
31. Instagram 554 -8
32. Ice cream 520 -4
33. Life 489 0
34. Winter 454 +2
35. Smoking 441 -4
36. Wine 435 +13
37. Me 434 +10
38. Cookies 430 -12
39. Chipotle 422 +4
40. Snapchat 408 +16
41. Feelings 393 +27
42. Marijuana 381 -12
43. Shopping 374 -3
44. Rice 357 +10
45. My phone 351 -6
45. Virginity 351 -21
46. Catholicism 337 +9
47. Food 329 -13
48. Cheese 315 -2
49. Stuff 307 -8
50. McDonald’s 300 -15
51. Carbs 295 -1
52. Snow 284 +8
53. Desserts 276 +8
54. French fries 257 +9
55. People 248 +4
56. Coke 245 +1
57. Fried food 242 -5
58. Red meat 237 +14
59. Masturbation 233 -15
60. Selfies 230 -18
61. Hope 224 +23
61. Sobriety 224 -14
62. Procrastination 219 -4
63. Complaining 216 +14
64. Makeup 214 +2
64. Caffeine 214 -12
65. Booze 211 +17
65. Negativity 211 +5
66. Takeout 210 -2
67. Eating out 184 +22
68. Cake 183 +17
69. Chick Fil A 179 +31
70. Obama 178 -5
71. Fizzy drinks 175 -9
72. Porn 173 -4
73. Diet Coke 172 0
74. Pancakes 159 +5
75. Breathing 158 0
76. Classes 157 +55
77. Sleep 156 +6
78. Peanut butter 152 +2
79. Cold weather 151 +79
80. Hot Cheetos 145 +25
81. Liquor 144 +13
82. Tea 143 -4
83. Dunkin Donuts 138 +27
84. Taco Bell 137 -17
85. Men 135 +21
86. Sarcasm 133 -12
87. Winning 127 +32
88. Online shopping 126 +19
89. Sweet tea 125 -8
90. Caring 124 -14
91. Pasta 123 -5
92. Naps 122 +23
93. Juice 117 +5
94. Nothing 115 -25
94. A levels 115 +37
94. Being mean 115 +4
95. Him 113 +22
96. New Year’s resolutions 112 +34
97. My swag 111 -27
97. Gluten 111 +4
98. Exercise 110 -8
98. Church 110 -4
99. My boyfriend 109 +2
100. Dairy 106 +26

Including Retweets

If we include retweets, here are the top ten things given up this year. It’s somewhat different:

Rank Word Count Difference from non-retweet rank
1. School 38,532 0
2. College 17,615 +9
3. F***boys 6,461 +9
4. Chocolate 5,127 -2
5. Twitter 5,074 -2
6. Alcohol 4,427 -2
7. Social networking 3,968 -2
8. Swearing 3,534 -2
9. Obama 3,351 +61
10. You 2,940 +3
11. Soda 2,820 -4
12. Coffee 2,506 -2
13. Sweets 2,499 -5
14. Homework 2,456 +2
15. Fast food 2,356 -6

Second-Wave Social Media

Has Instagram peaked?

Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Tinder, Vine, WhatsApp.

Fast Food

Chipotle passes McDonald’s this year. Chick Fil A passes Taco Bell, and Whataburger continues its rise.

McDonald's, Chiptole, Taco Bell, Chick Fil A, Dunkin Donuts, Whataburger, In N Out, Domino's, and KFC.

Snack Foods

Hot Cheetos are still on the move.

Hot Cheetos, popcorn, Doritos, potato chips, Cheetos

TV vs. Netflix

As TV declines, Netflix rises.

TV, Netflix

Categories

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 30,148
2. school/work 10,819
3. technology 9,277
4. habits 8,057
5. smoking/drugs/alcohol 6,230
6. relationship 4,229
7. irony 2,978
8. sex 2,274
9. health/hygiene 1,601
10. religion 1,470
11. entertainment 1,069
12. weather 986
13. generic 834
14. shopping 685
15. sports 410
16. money 276
17. politics 216
18. clothes 174
19. celebrity 165
20. possessions 83

Media Coverage

The Lent Tracker received some media attention this year. In roughly chronological order:

  1. What is Lent and when does it start? (Bath Chronicle)
  2. Will millions of Christians give up Facebook and Twitter for Lent? (MarketWatch)
  3. Top things Twitter users are ‘giving up’ for Lent (AZ Central. It even has a video.)
  4. Chocolate or Facebook – what will you be giving up this Ash Wednesday for Lent? (Irish Central)
  5. 7 Ideas to Give Up For Lent (or just because) (North DelaWHERE Happening)
  6. Top 10 Things People Will Be Giving Up For Lent, According to Twitter (97.3 The Dawg)
  7. What To Give Up for Lent? Twitter Reveals Top 100 Ideas of 2015 (Christianity Today)
  8. Here’s What People On Twitter Say They’re Giving Up For Lent (Time)
  9. What do Twitter users say they’re giving up for Lent? (KWWL)
  10. The Alpha and Omega of Lent: 5 FAQs on Ash Wednesday (AL.com)
  11. Chocolate, smoking, fast food: What are you giving up for Lent? (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
  12. Here’s What People on Twitter Say They’re Giving Up For Lent (Ryot News + Action)
  13. When is Lent 2015 and what should I give up? (Lincolnshire Echo)
  14. What people are giving up for Lent, as told to Twitter (Washington Post. I actually spoke to this reporter.)
  15. School and chocolate top list of what Twitter users are giving up for Lent (Kansas City Star)

Track in Real Time What People Are Giving Up for Lent in 2015

Monday, February 16th, 2015

See the top 100 things people are giving up in 2015 for Lent on Twitter, continually updated until February 21, 2015. You can also use the Historical Lent Tracker to see trends since 2009, though 2015 is still in flux, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions (except maybe relating to Hot Cheetos–I seriously don’t understand that one) until the end of the week.

As I write this post, with about 4,000 tweets analyzed, perennial favorites “alcohol,” “chocolate,” and “social networking” lead the list. Given winter weather conditions in the eastern U.S., I expect that snow- and winter-related tweets will be popular this year.

Look for the usual post-mortem on February 21, 2015.

What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2014 Edition)

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The top 100 things that people on Twitter are giving up for Lent in 2014.

This year, “School” topped the list of things Twitterers are giving up for Lent, up 44 places from last year. Remaining in the top ten from last year are Swearing, Alcohol, Soda, Social Networking, and Fast Food. Chocolate, Twitter, Sweets, and Lent round out the new additions to the top ten.

I don’t have a great explanation for why School is #1 this year–it could be that Ash Wednesday is later this year, so spring break is closer (for some it even starts today). It’s also possible that Twitter’s audience is skewing younger than it used to, or that younger Twitter users are more likely to tweet about Lent.

Timely topics this year are Boosie, referring to rapper Lil Boosie, who was released from prison this week (people joked that the prison was giving him up for Lent); and Electricity, referring to a widespread power outage in South Africa.

This list draws from 646,000 tweets during March 2 to 8 that mention giving up something for Lent and excludes retweets.

Rank Word Count Change from last year’s rank
1. School 11,757 +44
2. Chocolate 9,515 +15
3. Twitter 8,642 +8
4. Swearing 7,132 -2
5. Alcohol 6,325 0
6. Soda 5,446 -3
7. Social networking 4,197 -3
8. Sweets 4,188 +8
9. Fast food 4,088 0
10. Lent 2,842 +118
11. Meat 2,790 +26
12. Homework 2,760 +61
13. Junk food 2,723 +8
14. Coffee 2,678 +123
15. Sex 2,392 +112
16. Chips 2,129 -10
17. Bread 2,020 +114
18. You 2,016 +21
19. Facebook 1,926 0
20. Pizza 1,628 +122
21. Starbucks 1,566 +120
22. Candy 1,412 +87
23. Instagram 1,212 -13
24. Religion 1,147 +104
25. Virginity 1,143 -18
26. Cookies 1,053 -14
27. Work 1,031 +4
28. Ice cream 1,025 +27
29. Boys 1,021 +99
30. Marijuana 1,018 -22
31. Smoking 994 -9
32. Beer 939 +104
33. Life 933 -8
34. Food 930 +27
35. McDonalds 926 +20
36. Winter 853  
37. Netflix 851 -7
38. College 819 +16
39. My phone 777 +6
40. Shopping 748 +103
41. Stuff 733 +100
42. Selfies 731 +1
43. Chipotle 726 +100
44. Masturbation 725 -30
45. Sugar 682 +82
46. Cheese 670 +94
47. Me 656 +87
48. Sobriety 655 -17
49. Wine 652 +94
50. Carbs 648 +81
51. Boosie 581  
52. Fried food 574 -23
53. Caffeine 563 +70
54. Rice 562 +86
55. Catholicism 561 -28
56. Snapchat 543 +11
57. Coke 541 -22
58. Procrastination 517 -18
59. People 516 +54
60. Snow 506  
61. Desserts 486 -37
62. Fizzy drinks 480 +81
63. French fries 475 -29
64. Takeout 464 -49
65. Obama 452 +74
66. Makeup 451 -25
67. Taco Bell 434 +39
68. Feelings 434 -32
68. Porn 430  
69. Nothing 427 +74
70. My swag 420 -47
71. Negativity 417 +28
72. Red meat 396 +59
73. Diet Coke 390 +69
74. Sarcasm 380  
75. Breathing 369  
76. Caring 357 +66
77. Complaining 354  
78. Tea 352 +64
79. Pancakes 340 +63
80. Peanut butter 336  
81. Sweet tea 335  
82. Booze 325 +61
83. Sleep 320 +33
84. Hope 316 +46
85. Cake 313 -13
86. Pasta 303 +57
87. TV 302 +30
88. Texting 297 +52
89. Eating out 275 -29
90. Exercise 274 -47
91. Pants 270 +5
92. Electricity 268 +41
93. The gym 258 +16
94. Liquor 245  
95. Church 243 -46
96. Tinder 237 +35
97. Tumblr 236 +46
98. Math 236 +20
98. Juice 232 +35
99. Being mean 230  
100. Chick Fil A 228 -38

Categories

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 62,453
2. school/work 18,148
3. technology 17,615
4. habits 16,616
5. smoking/drugs/alcohol 12,665
6. irony 7,319
7. relationship 6,563
8. sex 5,483
9. health/hygiene 3,476
10. religion 2,784
11. generic 2,504
12. entertainment 1,959
13. weather 1,496
14. shopping 1,183
15. celebrity 961
16. sports 780
17. politics 547
18. clothes 540
19. money 492
20. habit 393
21. possessions 217
22. clothing 62

Historical Trends

This year I added a new Historical Lent Tracker that you can use to investigate Lenten trends on your own over the past six years.

Here are some of my favorite graphs:

Second-Wave Social Media

Tumblr peaked in 2011, and WhatsApp, which Facebook recently paid $19 billion for, doesn’t register highly.

Instagram is highest, followed by Snapchat, Tumblr, Tinder, and Whatsapp

Fast Food Restaurants

Chipotle is much higher on the list than I expected–is that because people love it or because they hate it?

McDonald's is highest, followed by Chipotle, Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin Donuts, Whataburger, KFC, and Subway.

One Direction vs. Justin Bieber

One Direction has been outpacing Justin Bieber since 2012.

Snack Foods

Congratulations, Hot Cheetos, on being the snack the most people want to give up.

Hot Cheetos is highest, followed by popcorn, Doritos, potato chips, and Cheetos.

Media Coverage

The Lent Tracker got some media attention this year. In roughly chronological order:

Finally, this Wall Street Journal article doesn’t talk about the Lent tracker, but it discusses the fraught phenomenon of Ash Wednesday selfies: Selfies Bring Ashtags to Lent. (This article may or may not be behind a paywall for you.)

Track What People Are Giving Up in 2014 for Lent in Real Time

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

See the top 100 things people are giving up in 2014 for Lent on Twitter, continually updated until March 7, 2014.

As I write this post, with about 5,000 tweets analyzed, the new hot topics so far this year are: “Netflix,” “Flappy Bird,” and “Getting an Oscar.” “Social Networking” is currently way out in front, with twice as many tweets as perennial favorites “Swearing” and “Alcohol.” (Last year, Social Networking came in at #4.)

Look for the usual post-mortem on March 8, 2014.

What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2013 Edition)

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

The top 100 things that people on Twitter are giving up for Lent in 2013.

This year saw a lot of churn in the top 100 things people were giving up for Lent.

The pope announced his resignation on Monday, leading many to say that he was giving up “being pope” for Lent. It came in at #1. (Related, at #18, people said they were giving up “the pope” for Lent.)

Specific social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook generally dropped this year, with the generic term “social networking” (#4) taking over as a catchall. Instagram (#10), Pinterest (#52), and Snapchat (#78) were all new to the top 100.

With Valentine’s Day falling on the day after Ash Wednesday this year, it came in at #13. My wife suggests that the timing may also have contributed to the drop in “chocolate” from #2 last year to #17 this year. “Valentines” is #97.

“Horse meat” (#20) refers to the ongoing European scandal.

The only celebrity to make the list was British boy band One Direction, up substantially at #41.

I learned several new words this year: “twerking” (#34), a type of dance move, “selfies” (#46), or self-shot photos taken with a phone, “subtweeting” (#57), or tweeting about someone without mentioning them by name, “oomf” (#71), or “one of my [Twitter] followers,” and “Nando’s” (#76), a chicken restaurant.

This list draws from 263,000 tweets from February 10-15, 2013, and excludes most retweets.

Rank Word Count Change from last year’s rank
1. Being pope 5,654  
2. Swearing 4,944 +1
3. Soda 2,648 +2
4. Social networking 2,264 +19
5. Alcohol 2,217 -1
6. Chips 1,690 +8
7. Virginity 933 +23
8. Marijuana 784 +17
9. Fast food 776 -2
10. Instagram 755 +270
11. Twitter 672 -10
12. Cookies 643 +19
13. Valentine’s day 514  
14. Masturbation 510 +18
15. Takeout 465 +59
16. Sweets 444 -7
17. Chocolate 417 -15
18. The pope 394 +10,224
19. Facebook 380 -13
20. Horse meat 375  
21. Junk food 362 -8
22. Smoking 355 -3
23. My swag 331 +373
24. Desserts 325 +21
25. Life 325 +40
26. New year’s resolutions 313 +47
27. My boyfriend 309 +99
28. Catholicism 255 +11
29. Straightening my hair 228 +89
30. Fried food 225 +5
31. Netflix 216 +255
32. Work 216 -5
33. Sobriety 213 +4
34. Twerking 185 +698
35. The playoffs 184 +3,556
36. French fries 173 +19
37. Coke 168 +1
38. Feelings 168 +207
39. Laziness 160 +28
40. Meat 158 -30
41. Onedirection 155 +103
42. You 154 -24
43. Procrastination 153 +1
44. Makeup 150 +16
45. Internet 149 +61
46. Selfies 149 +2,328
47. Exercise 144 +58
48. School 141 -36
49. My phone 135 +15
50. Classes 129 +84
51. Dip 127 +132
52. Pinterest 125 +133
53. Church 124 +33
54. Emotions 122 +397
55. Going to school 119 +163
56. My girlfriend 111 +207
57. Subtweeting 110 +253
58. College 106 +5
59. My face 106 +4,168
60. Ice cream 106 -27
61. McDonald’s 102 -32
62. Being ugly 101 +256
63. Snacking 99 +19
64. Spending 96 +89
65. Dunkin Donuts 96 +475
66. Chew 95 +418
67. Eating out 94 +28
68. Elevators 94 +99
69. Food 93 -47
70. Moaning 93 +123
71. Oomf 93 +78
72. Chick Fil A 90 +135
73. Healthy food 88 +180
74. Football 87 +145
75. Swimming 87 +200
76. Nando’s 86 +72
77. DVDs 84 +1,326
78. Snapchat 84  
79. Broccoli 83 +206
80. Ranch 81 +250
81. The snooze button 80 +176
82. Crystal meth 80 +219
83. Dignity 79 +116
84. Cake 77 -13
85. Unhealthy food 77 +34
86. Homework 76 -65
87. Busyness 75  
88. Schoolwork 74 +88
89. Chemistry 74 +34,949
90. Frozen yogurt 72 +480
91. iPhone 72 +100
92. FIFA 71 +143
93. Betting 70 +315
94. Doing homework 69 +158
95. Myself 68 +267
96. Supermarkets 67 +1,797
97. Valentines 66  
98. Domino’s 63 +323
99. Being negative 63 +212
100. Hookah 63 +340

Categories

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 11,642
2. habits 8,083
3. religion 6,519
4. technology 4,782
5. smoking/drugs/alcohol 3,928
6. sex 1,771
7. relationship 1,399
8. health/hygiene 1,270
9. school work 1,095
10. irony 792
11. sports 648
12. entertainment 392
13. celebrity 246
14. clothes 235
15. money 133
16. shopping 111

The image is a Wordle.

Track What People Are Giving Up in 2013 for Lent in Real Time

Monday, February 11th, 2013

See the top 100 things people are giving up in 2013 for Lent on Twitter, continually updated until February 15, 2013.

As I write this post, with about 5,000 tweets analyzed, the new hot topics so far this year are: meowing, Valentine’s Day, and Snapchat.

Look for the usual post-mortem on February 16, 2013.