We've finally emerged unscathed (mostly) from the post-Thanksgiving hubbub of consumerism - aka Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Sure, there's plenty of holiday shopping left for folks to do, but we can turn our attentions and social data analysis onto other trends and stories.
Speaking of more serious attention-grabbers, we look at the riveting true crime podcast sweeping the nation, NPR's "Serial" from the folks at the infinitely popular "This American Life".
What did we care about on social this week? Let's see, there was Lammily, the realistic teen doll. Also, Girl Scouts got digital (ordering that is), holiday ads flooded the interwebs, and the Rockefeller tree lighting caused a lot of buzz - from Mariah's "performance" to the unrelenting protesters in the area responding to the Eric Garner grand jury verdict.
And of course we can't forget about the cringe heard 'round the internet, when Ariana Grande learned the answer to the question, "did it hurt when a Victoria's Secret angel fell onto you?"
And the data says...
Serial-ously, "Serial" has swept the social-verse
Have you heard of "Serial"? Of course you have... unless you've been living under a rock.
Whether you've succumbed to the hype or refuse to download a single episode, this is one of those topics that has people completely enthralled and involved. In the online conversation that is. With the announcement that a season two is happening, more and more people (including myself) are happily jumping on the bandwagon.
Why the mass appeal? It's true crime at its most intriguing, it involves a real (and very much unsolved) case, and it's the equivalent of a voyeuristic look into teen angst and melodrama (with a tragic murder at the crux of it all).
Each week listeners anxiously await the new episode, debuting on Thursdays. There are scores of reddit pages dedicated to talking about the podcast, the court case in question, and even podcasts discussing the podcast. Could "Serial" be the revival of radio and podcasting?
We've taken a look at the social conversations of the podcast and have seen more than 265,000 mentions of "Serial" since the beginning of October when it first aired.
A majority of coverage we have tracked occurred between October 30 and December 4. Interestingly, two of the most popular topics around the podcast have been the advertisers, especially MailChimp, and "cheat sheets." We have seen more than 5,000 mentions of "cheat sheets" for listeners to reference to keep up with Sarah Koenig's reporting. Here's an IBT cheat sheet if you're curious.
What's a "Mail...Kimp?" Is that a primate that delivers letters?
Sponsor of the podcast MailChimp hit social media gold when they decided to advertise on the first season of "Serial". One of the most popular conversations surrounding "Serial", besides the key players in the too-true tale, is MailChimp or MailKimp.
Both versions of the company's name have garnered more than 8,300 mentions.
The parody of the mispronunciation as MailKimp itself has received nearly 4,000 mentions.
Throughout October, the podcast received consistent mentions, between 500-1,000 each day, until the end of the month when mentions increased significantly. We saw the first spike in mentions occur on Thursday, October 30, due in large part to media coverage on TheAtlantic.com, EW.com, NYMag.com, and Vulture.com.
Since then, every Thursday has seen a sharp spike in mentions, with the most occurring on the most recent episode Thursday, December 4 (16,500+ mentions). Thursday, November 20 also received the second most mentions (16,000+ mentions) after "Serial" asked for donations to support a second season.
The wish of the producers and fans alike came true. A second season is imminent.
The top hashtags have included #serial (26,000+ tweets and retweets), #serialpodcast (14,000+ tweets and retweets), and #mailkimp (1,700 tweets and retweets).
"Serial" has also made its mark on other countries. While the United States has also had the most mentions of "Serial" (70%), conversations were seen in the United Kingdom (8%), Canada (4%), and Australia (2%).
Realism in doll land
The new "realistic" Barbie doll, Lammily, made her debut last night. She comes complete with a sticker pack that features pimples, moles, cellulite, and scars that can be applied. Realism for the win.
We saw more than 43,000 mentions of Lammily, with conversations spiking after creator, Nickolay Lamm published a video of second graders reacting to the doll.
Many people took to social media to discuss the new doll's realistic eccentricities (because let's face it, a realistic doll is odd) and mentioned the fact that Lammily can have cellulite (17,900+ mentions), stretch marks (15,500+ mentions), and tattoos (5,900+ mentions).
It's (digital) cookie time!
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America want to add new "cookies" to your browser. It was announced this week that the Girl Scouts are breaking from tradition and will (finally) allow Scouts to use the Internet to sell their cookies.
Even better, cookies ordered online will ship directly to the buyers - I'll take three boxes of Thin Mints, five Caramel de-lites, and just throw in a box of Lemonades. KTHXBAI.
Many cookie enthusiasts took to social media to express their glee. We saw more than 16,000 mentions of the sweet news since last week, with the most mentions occurring on December 1st (9,000+ mentions).
Tis the season, for holiday adverts
Canadian airline WestJet, released its 2014 "Christmas Miracle" video. It showcases the airline surprising residents of a village in the Dominican Republic. Just like last year, the video is another tearjerker - so grab your tissues.
We have seen nearly 10,000 mentions of the video since November 30, with the most occurring on December 2nd (4,000+ mentions).
The official hashtag of the campaign, #westjetchristmas, has received more than 2,210 tweets and retweets garnering more than 5.9 million impressions.
So far, we have seen the most mentions of the campaign in the United States (53%), followed by Canada (28%).
Protesters at the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting
On December 3, NBC began their official start to the holiday season with their Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting. We began tracking the conversation about the lighting online that day and have seen more than 63,000 mentions of the New York City spectacle.
In the hours leading up to the live-televised event, there were few mentions of the tree lighting until a Staten Island grand jury decided there would be no indictment of the NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner. Protests erupted all throughout the city, with the 30 Rock being a prime spot.
The conversation had the most mentions at at 3 p.m. ET (5,750+ mentions) and 8 p.m. ET (12,000+ mentions).
Of note, all times pictured in the above graph are GMT.
3 p.m. ET: mentions of #shutitdown, #ericgarner, and #shutitdown
8 p.m. ET: the official show began
Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas" #fail
After Mariah Carey missed the pre-taping for her performance in the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting special, she promised fans that she would perform live for them during the opening of the show. Keeping her word, Mimi opened the show to some mixed reviews.
The performance was a bit shaky and an isolated version of her vocals emerged shortly thereafter, which we have seen more than 500 link shares on Twitter.
Using Brandwatch, we saw more than 6,300 mentions of her performance that night, many of which described it as "bad," "horrible," or "awful." Poor Mariah.
Our new minute-by-minute charting feature pinpointed when Mariah received the most social backlash and mentions, at 8:04 p.m. ET while she performed her Christmas classic, "All I Want For Christmas."
Sadly for the songstress, many people were wishing she'd chosen to "lip sync" to their Christmas wish lists.
Struck by an angel
Although the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show does not air until next week, it has already started to make a buzz in the news and on social media. A meme from the show of performer Ariana Grande being hit in the face by the wings of a Victoria's Secret angel has already gone viral.
Sure, her cringe and duck is entertaining, but getting hit by an angel is no laughing matter (model though she may be).
According to Brandwatch, there have been over 54,000 mentions of Ariana Grande and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show since last week, with most mentions on December 3 after Ariana tweeted "a Victoria's Secret angel accidentally smacked me in the face with her wings and it was awesome."
Since then, the original tweet has received more than 45,000 retweets. The funny hashtag, #bangbangintomyface, which she tweeted herself, has also been the most popular hash, receiving more than 43,000 retweets and tweets.
Ariana's willingness to laugh at herself also led to the term "accidentally smacked" being the most popular topic.
Back to December
It's almost 2015, but don't worry we'll have a few more weekly columns this month. We'll be keeping a close eye on viral campaigns and socially trending news stories throughout the month. With any luck, the VS fashion show next week will include the Grande-Angel battle and we can see another spike in chatter online.
As the world turns, as the stories churn, so the Twitter waves ripple and bubble with virality and trending hashtags. Keep it up world, we'll be (social) listening.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about Brandwatch or social data, leave a comment!