A theme surrounding conversations this week has centered on 2017 — a look back. People like to reflect on the year as we move into the next.
Last year, many commented on the number of beloved celebrities the world lost. Many mourned the deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman (maybe best known as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series), Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Merle Haggard, Prince, Morley Safer, Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe and others.
Some also reflect on loved ones lost. I lost my grandmother in 2016, and that’s largely what that year represents in my mind. Though, the trip home from her memorial services also included a pretty legendary national park road trip with my husband that will live in my memories for a long time.
This year, though, seemed to center around politics and protests. No matter where you stand on things like the NFL protests, demonstrations in the streets, President Donald Trump or the role of our country in the world, you’ve likely had conversations about all of those issues during 2017.
You may have also conducted a Google search in association with one or more of those topics. You weren’t alone.
Google released its “Year in Search 2017,” which includes the most searched items on its website.
In general, the top-five searches were:
• Hurricane Irma
• Matt Lauer
• Tom Petty
• Super Bowl
• Las Vegas shooting
Google also breaks down searches by topics such as news, people, activations (protests), actors, athletes, calories, car brands, consumer tech, dog breeds, how to, movies, recipes and what is…, among others.
Here’s a quick look at some of the top searches by category.
• How to make slime
• How to make solar eclipse glasses
• How to watch the solar eclipse
• How to watch Mayweather vs. McGregor
• How to buy Bitcoin
• “Beauty and the Beast”
• “Wonder Woman”
• “Get Out”
• “Justice League”
• What is DACA?
• What is Bitcoin?
• What is solar eclipse?
• What is ANTIFA?
• What is net neutrality?
The searches shouldn’t be too surprising. Many of the items listed above have been in the news, referenced repeatedly on social media, talked about at coffee shops and have likely been at the center of heated disagreements.
What’s interesting to me, though, is the largely serious nature of many of the top searches — severe weather, sexual harassment, financial investments, immigration policy, net neutrality and a mass shooting.
Members of older generations often complain that millennials are unengaged, superficial and apathetic, but those younger generations also dominate the use of technology. Given the top searches, I think millennials have proven themselves to be more involved and engaged than many give them credit for.