Archive for December, 2009

24
Dec
09

Christmas songs live you’ve never heard them before…

22
Dec
09

The top Facebook Status trends of 2009

Status updates on Facebook help people understand their friends and the people around them–how they’re feeling, what they’re doing and what they’re thinking. In the United States alone, people on Facebook are sharing hundreds of millions of words every day, thousands per second, in status updates. When taken as a whole, these words offer a unique barometer into the issues, world events and thoughts that are connecting people.

In the tradition of year-end lists, we’re introducing Facebook Memology. “Memology” refers to the study of how “memes,” or new ideas and trends, are spreading on Facebook. For this year’s list, the Facebook Data Team mapped the top trending words and phrases in U.S. status updates for 2009.

While significant news events and celebrities made the list, more personal topics like family, religion and even emerging digital slang were as common—no doubt reflecting the way people share their daily lives with friends on Facebook.

To generate the list, we started by looking at how many times each phrase with length from one-to-four words occurred in U.S. Facebook status updates, then we computed the rate at which each phrase occurred in 2009 compared to 2008. Using some data-mining methods detailed here, we analyzed important bursts in activity around words and series of words to find the key trends for the year. All personally identifiable information was removed from the status updates to conduct this analysis, and no one at Facebook read the individual status updates.

Because quite a few words and phrases were related to each other and correlated contextually, we grouped some of them together to form the final list that follows.

1 – Facebook Applications

Specific words: Farmville, Farm Town, Social Living

Facebook has provided a platform for developers to create a number of hugely popular applications, and it is no surprise that people are talking about them. You could almost say that 2009 was the year of the farm in status updates. Since its emergence in June 2009, Farmville became the most talked-about application in status updates and now boasts over 72 million monthly active users. It wasn’t alone. Farm Town also ranked highly, as did general discussions with the word “farm.”

2 – FML

Specific word: FML

This digital slang became the hottest acronym to enter the Facebook lexicon in 2009. It spread from relatively low usage to become a mainstream word in status updates. FML is used almost exclusively online and in text messages, and its meaning, once very specific, has broadened. People now use it simply to express some frustration with an aspect of their lives. We’ll leave the “F” open to your interpretation, but the “M” and L” stand for “My Life.”

The beginning of May appeared to be a seriously frustrating time for people, when students were busy with finals and the weather was rainy just before summer. We saw a lull in “FML” in the summer months and, as expected, there was strong weekly periodicity to this term with it appearing most often on Mondays and Tuesdays.

3 – Swine Flu

Specific words: Flu, Swine Flu, H1N1

Swine flu, or H1N1, was probably the biggest ongoing news story of the year. Discussion of H1N1 in status updates reached a peak in the spring—slong before the flu itself began affecting many people. When flu season began in the fall, people began discussing the term again, though never with the same frequency as when it first appeared. Another interesting trend is that no one called the virus H1N1 when it first appeared, but by September the effort to disassociate the term “swine” from the illness was fairly successful and “H1N1” occurrences now roughly equal “swine.” Surprisingly, the use of the word “flu” over the year consistently peaked during the middle of the week and was at its lowest on Sundays. We’re not sure why.

4 – Celebrity Deaths

Specific words: Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, Billy Mays

No celebrity death had as immediate of an impact on status updates as Michael Jackson’s. Mentions of his name were 10,000 times higher on June 25, the day he died, than the previous day, and no other unexpected news event can compare to the burst we saw on that day. Despite the huge impact of this story, mentions of his name lasted only about a week, with a resurgence during his memorial 12 days later. Rather surprisingly, Patrick Swayze’s death was almost as large with about two-thirds as many mentions as Michael Jackson’s on the peak day of status updates about Swayze.

5 – Family

Specific words: Family, Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, Kids

As Facebook becomes more prevalent across demographics, people talk more about “mom,” “dad,” “son” and “daughter”. We saw significant increases in all sorts of family-related words during 2009. Perhaps the most dramatic increase was “kids,” a word whose occurrence went up by a factor of five.

6 – Movies

Specific words: New Moon, Transformers, Star Trek, The Hangover, Paranormal Activity and Harry Potter

Whenever a new movie comes out, it creates a big spike in discussion in Facebook status updates. The most-discussed of 2009 was “New Moon.” It narrowly edged out the big summer movies “Harry Potter” and “Transformers.” Other big movies on Facebook were “Star Trek,” “The Hangover” and “Paranormal Activity”.

7 – Sports

Specific words: Steelers, Yankees

In February of 2009, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl, and in October the New York Yankees won the World Series. The Steelers reached a higher peak in mentions, but largely because they only played a single football game to garner the top prize. The Yankees were discussed a bit less per day, but the discussion occurred over a longer period of time throughout the multiple games of baseball’s World Series. We’ll call this one a tie to avoid playing favorites or sparking sports-supremacy debates.

8 – Health Care

Specific words: Health Care, No one should have to…

Since President Barack Obama took office, the discussion of “health care” has risen steadily in status updates. This reached a peak in early September when millions of pro-reform users updated their status with the following message: “No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.” For two days, millions of people posted this to their profiles in support of health care reform. The meme continued to circulate, gradually declining over the weeks that followed. Even aside from that meme, health care mentions are up 10 times since a year ago.

9 – FB

Specific words: FB, FB Friends, News Feed

Whenever we make a change to the site a lot of people chime in with their opinions. For instance, we see spikes in mentions of “News Feed” on the order of 100-times increases whenever there is a change to the way that feature works or how the home page is laid out. “FB” and “FB Friends,” on the other hand, have nothing to do with product changes, but as Facebook has become more prevalent people are shortening our name for convenience. Usage of the word “FB” has increased about 7 fold since the beginning of 2009 and “FB Friends” increased about 10 times over the same period.

10 – Twitter

Specific words: Twitter, RT

Talk about Twitter took off at the beginning of the year. April showed a peak of activity and momentum, though mentions of the word “Twitter” decreased over the past few months. The acronym “RT,” standing for “retweet,” entered the lexicon along with the word “Twitter” in September of 2008 and has become a common acronym to describe reposting activity.

11 – Years

Specific words: 2008, 2009, 2010

Many status updates are about what people are going to do or have just done, so naturally they often contain dates. While the number of posts containing a date didn’t go up dramatically in 2009, the date itself changed to reflect the current and upcoming year.

12 – Lady Gaga

Specific words: Gaga, Poker Face

Lady Gaga was the biggest new performer of 2009 based on status updates from people in the U.S. She was virtually unmentioned until November of 2008 and spiked in mentions of her name in September of 2009 during the MTV Video Music Awards. At the end of September, Christopher Walken’s performance of the song “Poker Face” caused a spike in that term, but didn’t noticeably impact occurrences of “Lady Gaga.”

13 – Yard

Specific word: Yard

This is a trend that nobody would have guessed. The word “yard” seems fairly uncommon, and indeed it barely breaches a rate of five mentions in every 10,000 status updates. When we compare 2009 to 2008, however, we see a huge increase. Have all the hipsters turned to yard work as the latest fad? Probably not. A more likely explanation is that hipsters’ moms and dads are also on Facebook, and these folks have yards that require some tending.

14 – Religion

Specific words: Easter, Lord, God

Religious terms increased a significant amount in the last year. In the last 6 months, there was a noticeable upward trend in occurrences of “Lord” and “God.” While “Easter” occurs infrequently most of the time, the Easter Sunday spike from 2009 is about 30 percent higher than it was in 2008.

15 – I

Specific words: I, is

Until March of 2009, people updated their status in a box that appeared next to their name on the home page and, consequently, many updates started with the word “is.” Once that box no longer was shown next to people’s name, the usage of “is” dropped off dramatically and usage of “I” doubled almost overnight. Prior to March of 2009, “is” represented about 9 percent of all words in status updates. With the change in interface, it remained high in absolute terms, but dropped all the way to about 1.5 percent recently while “I” increased from 1 percent to about 2.5 percent.

Lars Backstrom, a data scientist at Facebook, is heading to Iowa to investigate some farms.

22
Dec
09

The Holdman Family’s gift to the power company this year

22
Dec
09

Battle Royale… Youtube style

2 Seattle High School’s have taken their rivalry to a whole new level… Youtube. The first school, Shorecrest HS, posted this video:

Then things got heated when their big cross-town rival posted this video (which was shot in reverse):

So which one do you think wins?

22
Dec
09

Priest outrages police by telling congregation: ‘My advice to poor is to shoplift’

This is from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1237470/Priest-advises-congregation-shoplift.html:

Priest outrages police by telling congregation: ‘My advice to poor is to shoplift’

By Graham Smith
Last updated at 4:57 PM on 21st December 2009

Father Tim Jones‘Highly irresponsible’: Father Tim Jones has been criticised after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon 

A clergyman has been criticised as ‘highly irresponsible’ after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon. 

Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people. 

It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to ‘prostitution, mugging or burglary’, he said.
 

The married father-of-two insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ – because God’s love for the poor outweighs his love for the rich. 

But the minister’s controversial sermon at St Lawrence Church in York has been slammed by police, the British Retail Consortium and a local MP, who all say that no matter what the circumstances, shoplifting is an offence.
 

Delivering his festive lesson, Father Jones told the congregation: ‘My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.  I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or  because I think it is harmless, for it is neither. 

‘I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices. 

‘I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need. 

‘I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.’ 

He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary. 

 

 

Father Jones cited the example of an ex-prisoner who had been forced to live on less than £100, including a crisis loan, over six weeks after his release from jail. 

He continued: ‘My advice does not contradict the Bible’s eighth commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich. 

‘Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are. 

‘Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.’ 

But a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: ‘First and foremost, shoplifting is a criminal offence and to justify this course of action under any circumstances is highly irresponsible. 

‘Turning or returning to crime will only make matters worse, that is a guarantee. We recognise some people find themselves in difficult circumstances but support is readily available and must be sought.’ 
 

Local Tory MP Anne McIntosh, who has campaigned in Parliament for stronger sentences for shoplifters, admitted that there had been an ‘over-commercialisation’ of the festive period which encourages people to spend. 

But she said: ‘I cannot condone inciting anyone to commit a criminal offence, shoplifting is a crime against the whole local community and society.’ 

Richard Dodd, spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, said he was surprised that a priest was encouraging his congregation to steal. 

‘He’s failing to appreciate that it’s the job of our welfare system to deal with vulnerable people,’ he said. ‘That’s how to deal with the vulnerable, not calling for them to steal from shops.’ 

Mr Dodd added: ‘Stealing is wrong and it isn’t less wrong to steal from a big retailer than it is to steal from a small retailer. 

‘I thought this was a central part of every religion.’
 

This isn’t the first time Father Jones has courted controversy.
 

He hit the headlines in May 2008 when he protested against a shop stocking Playboy stationery aimed at youngsters. He tossed the items onto the floor complaining they were ‘cynical and  wicked’. The shop bowed to his one-man protest and agreed to stop stocking Playboy-branded merchandise.

22
Dec
09

Is the iPhone coming to Verizon? T-Mobile?

Apple Insider posted a blog yesterday morning about this summer’s end to Apple’s contract with AT&T. Check it out here… http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/12/21/wwdc_2010_iphone_announcement_rumored_for_june_28_july_2.html

21
Dec
09

My Christmas gift to you all you family, friends, fans, and followers:

Tomorrow I’ll be on the road all day so I’ve scheduled 4 or 5 automatic posts with funny videos, interesting stories, and random fun. Tomorrow night when I get to Ohio I’ll post a few thoughts and then Wednesday through Friday morning I’ll just have moew automatic posts with more Christmas fun and 2009 wrap-ups.

Christmas day I’ll do my traditional “what I got” post and then I’ll probably just post a few updates about life in Ohio and what all I am up to. Next week I’ll drive back to Georgia so look for a handful of automatic posts on Tuesday during that trip. Wednesday I will be vegging out and Thursday I will be setting up for and attending my church’s big New Year’s Eve event at our new property.

So what is your Christmas gift? Well it’s not Christmas yet!!! I’ll have a post on December 25 entitled “The Gift” and in that post there will be something for you!

You can follow my travels and get more updates via twitter at twitter.com/briandbuchanan or get texts directly to your phone by texting FOLLOW BRIANDBUCHANAN to 40404




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