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Archive for February, 2018

What Twitterers Are Giving up for Lent (2018 Edition)

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Social networking, Twitter, and alcohol are the top three things Twitterers gave up for Lent in 2018.

This year social networking topped the list, followed by Twitter, alcohol, chocolate, and swearing. It was a fairly typical year, with the top five the same as last year (though in a different order)–except for swearing, which came in at #6 last year, behind chips. (Chips had received a boost last year from Theresa May’s vow to give them up; this year they returned to closer to their usual spot.)

This year, 29,609 tweets (excluding retweets) specifically mention giving up something, down substantially from last year’s 73,334. In all, this year the analysis covers 427,810 tweets, down from 694,244 last year.

Relationships

As expected with Valentine’s Day falling on Ash Wednesday this year, relationship-related tweets increased:

Men + boys increased, Valentine's Day + love + being single increased sharply, and women + girls increased slightly.

Plastic

Plastic also jumped substantially this year, boosted by the Church of England’s suggestion that followers give up various forms of plastic for Lent.

Plastic increased to nearly 1% of tweets this year.

Fortnite

New to the list this year is Fortnite, a Hunger Games-style video game:

“It’s all they talk about,” said Glen Irvin, a teacher coach at a high school in Sauk Rapids, Minn., of “Fortnite”-playing students. “The only other game I’ve ever heard kids get this passionate about is ‘Minecraft.’”

Fortnite drastically outperformed Minecraft this year.

Juuling

Also new this year is juuling, a slick and covert way to vape:

Resembling a flash drive, Juul conveys a sense of industry — you’re Juuling into your MacBook Air while you are cramming for your test on Theodore Dreiser and thinking about trigonometry — and it is so easy to conceal that, as one mother explained to me, she failed to notice that her daughter was vaping in the back seat of the car as she was driving.

Giving up juuling this year was nearly half as popular as giving up smoking:

Vaping is a distant third place.

Shootings

Two newcomers to the list this year are #30, guns, and #88, mass shootings. These tweets reflected a shooting at a Florida high school on Ash Wednesday.

The relevant topics jumped

Donald Trump

Donald Trump fell this year from #22 to #67, sandwiched between hope and procrastination.

Percentagewise, tweets related to President Trump fell by about two-thirds.

Tide Pods

Finishing just out of the top 100 this year are Tide Pods, which people keep eating for some reason.

Hopefully this is a one-year wonder.

Fast Food

Chick-fil-A surged to near-parity with McDonald’s, while Chipotle this week decided to deal with its Taco Bell parity by hiring Taco Bell’s former CEO.

Meanwhile, In-N-Out lost its momentum from last year.

Snack Food

Have Hot Cheetos finally plateaued?

Hot Cheetos were identical to last year.

Emojis

This year 4,667 tweets (16%) contained at least one emoji, down from 19% last year. The most-popular emojis were: 😂 😭 ♀ 😩 🙃 🙏 ✌ 😅 🙄 ♂.

Retweets

Here’s the most-retweeted Lent post this year, with over 71,000 retweets. I’m not totally sure why. (All the rest of the data on this page excludes retweets.)

Top 100 Things Twitterers Gave Up for Lent in 2018

Rank Word Count Change from last year’s rank
1. Social networking 1,329 +1
2. Twitter 1,215 +2
3. Alcohol 1,105 -2
4. Chocolate 1,035 -1
5. Swearing 549 +1
6. Meat 531 +6
7. Sweets 499 +3
8. Soda 441 0
9. Coffee 387 +2
10. Fast food 380 -1
11. Lent 373 +2
12. Facebook 342 +9
13. Sex 315 +6
14. Bread 267 +2
15. School 256 -8
16. Chips 222 -11
17. Snapchat 216 +34
18. Beer 193 -3
19. You 189 +1
20. Men 189 +35
21. Plastic 188 +122
22. Sugar 185 -5
23. Boys 165 +2
24. Candy 162 +7
25. Valentine’s Day 157 +130
26. Work 145 -2
27. College 145 -13
28. Negativity 144 +32
29. Instagram 143 +13
30. Guns 141 +126
31. Life 139 -13
32. Marijuana 132 +1
33. Junk food 130 -6
34. Religion 130 -8
35. Giving up things 112  
36. Starbucks 111 -2
37. Red meat 108 +12
38. Cheese 106 -6
39. Catholicism 105 -4
40. Pizza 104 -11
41. Smoking 100 -11
42. Love 100 +96
43. Wine 93 -3
44. Carbs 91 0
45. Me 89 -7
46. Fortnite 87  
47. Lying 84 +25
48. Dairy 81 +13
49. Homework 78 -21
50. Rice 77 -7
51. Booze 76 +12
52. Fried food 75 -7
53. Ice cream 74 -17
54. Complaining 72 +14
55. Cookies 69 -18
56. Single use plastic 68 +100
57. Shopping 68 -11
58. People 66 -11
59. Caffeine 65 +11
60. Stuff 60 -10
61. Masturbation 59 +3
62. Liquor 58 -5
63. F***boys 58 -24
64. Takeout 57 -4
65. Sobriety 57 -9
66. Hope 57 -43
67. Donald Trump 56 -46
68. Procrastination 56 -13
69. Virginity 55 -21
70. McDonald’s 55 -8
71. Hot Cheetos 55 -5
72. French fries 53 -20
73. Netflix 53 -8
74. Fizzy drinks 49 +3
75. Chick Fil A 48 +4
76. Eating out 48 -10
77. Makeup 47 -32
78. Porn 47 +21
79. Myself 45 -3
80. Juuling 45  
81. Him 44 -7
82. Pasta 44 -3
83. Desserts 41 -14
84. Food 40 -25
85. Coke 40 -14
86. Pork 39 +17
87. Dating 38 +23
88. Mass shootings 38  
89. Sleep 38 -16
90. Breathing 37 -47
91. Boba 37 +3
92. Being single 36 +22
93. Cake 36 -6
94. My will to live 36 -36
95. Pancakes 36 -15
96. The presidency 35 -43
97. Online shopping 32 -15
98. Tea 31 +10
99. Brexit 30 +27
100. This 30 -5
101. TV 30 -5

Top Categories

Unlike previous years, no non-political celebrities inspired large numbers of people to give them up.

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 6,702
2. technology 3,556
3. habits 2,034
4. smoking/drugs/alcohol 2,027
5. relationship 1,339
6. irony 946
7. school/work 714
8. sex 568
9. religion 404
10. politics 252
11. generic 224
12. possessions 155
13. entertainment 149
14. shopping 147
15. health/hygiene 125
16. money 94
17. sports 53
18. weather 21
19. clothes 14

Media Coverage

The Lent Tracker received some media attention this year:

Track in Real Time What People Are Giving Up for Lent in 2018

Monday, February 12th, 2018

See the top 100 things people are giving up for Lent in 2018 on Twitter, continually updated until February 17, 2018. You can also use the Historical Lent Tracker to see trends since 2009, though 2018 is still in flux, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions about 2018 yet.

As I write this post, with about 1,500 tweets analyzed, perennial favorites “social networking,” “alcohol,” and “twitter” lead the list. Ash Wednesday coincides with Valentine’s Day this year (and thus Easter with April Fools’ Day), so I expect relationship-related tweets to run higher than usual.

Look for the usual post-mortem on February 18, 2017.