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What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2017 Edition)

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

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