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New Year's Revelations: 2014 Insights from Twitter Data

Resolutions are a wonderful yearly tradition. The ability for a fresh start, a new beginning. This is the year that you’ll lose ten pounds - and you really mean it this time.  And of course, it’s yet another year to announce your intentions to your social networks while you’re watching the ball drop.

Social media data gives us the opportunity to analyze these promises in aggregate, and watch for trends and patterns that help us understand our aspirations each year. Are we, as a collective, looking to hit the gym this year? Stop drinking so damn much? Finally find that perfect someone to spend our time with? For this year’s study, we dove into Twitter data to uncover insights for the year ahead. So put on your running shoes, toss that pack of cigarettes in the trash, and dive in the data with Mass Relevance.

twitter data

We looked at resolution-related Twitter chatter from Dec 25 - Jan 1 during the past three years, and saw some clear patterns emerge:

Resolutions are becoming more social.

More Twitter users Tweeted about resolutions this year than the past two years. This indicates the growing importance of social media in our lives, and our willingness to share openly on social networks. We’re becoming less in our social posts, exposing more of our “true selves” through our online presences.

We aspire to be healthier versions of ourselves.

Not surprisingly, the majority of social New Years resolutions have to do with health-related topics. For the past three New Year’s Days, we have seen more resolutions about weight loss than any other topic. Exercise takes second place. Clearly our fitness-crazed culture would like to be a little bit lighter and a lot healthier in 2014. 

Forget quitting smoking, we’d rather just “be happy”.

Interestingly, over the past three years, resolutions to be more positive and “be happy” have steadily increased. A positive mindset now replaces smoking cessation as the third largest category for resolutions. 

Good news for Amazon: we’re embracing our inner bookworm.

We’re not just focused on improving our physical fitness - we also want to boost our mental fitness in 2014. Resolutions to “read more” made the largest year-over-year percentage increase, jumping 56% this year.

Real-Time Marketers take note.

We uncovered time-based patterns in the Twitter conversations as well. First, resolutions are made in real-time. For the past two years, more resolutions were proclaimed on both New Years Eve and New Years Day than the entire week leading up to the big event. Second, there’s a shift in conversation patterns between New Year’s Eve and January 1st. This year, on New Year’s Eve we saw more resolution-related Tweets about losing weight, drinking more (shocking), and reading more (actually shocking.) The next morning, after popping a few Advil, people concentrated more on resolutions around exercise, general health and being positive.

Finally, there were a few other surprising trends that popped in the data:

  • Is the marathon craze ending? Resolutions to run a marathon have declined for the past two years, and were down by 16% this year. Perhaps we’re looking for more diversity in our fitness routines, capitalizing on trends like Crossfit, HIIT and Soul Cycle.

  • Gentlemen, start your engines. The market is hot for potential boyfriends. There were 2.5X more resolutions to “find a boyfriend” than resolutions to “find a girlfriend” this year. In fact, more people announced their resolution to find a new relationship than resolved to give up sugar or fast food.

  • Cheers to 2014. Resolving to “drink less” alcohol narrowly beat out people resolving to “drink more” alcohol. So maybe there’s hope for us after all.

Regardless of your resolutions for the New Year, it’s safe to say that social media will play an increasingly important role in how we communicate with friends, family and our favorite brands. 

Join The Conversation

  • Samuel Hum's picture
    Jan 5 Posted 3 years ago Samuel Hum

    Chris, I think this is an interesting post; the findings give us a lot of insight into the current culture fads (varied fotness programs vs. marathon-running), emotional wants (boyfriends?) and activities (reading).

    As you mentioned, these findings can be beneficial for marketers, like Amazon in the case of reading, and they can use it to headline their marketing campaigns. Personally, I think we tend to forget our resolutions as the year treads on, so it'd be good to leverage on these resolutions while they're still fresh in our minds.

    I think this is a good time for me to look out for better clothes, seeing that the demand for boyfriends is rising...

    Thanks for the post!

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