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The Year in News 2015

The Year in News 2015

The Year in News 2015

Every social media platform has a differentiating factor that determines how it’s used. LinkedIn, for example, is best suited for networking and business, while Instagram is designed to share photos.

The key differentiation of Twitter has become clear over time: it allows users to stay on top of news and events that are trending all over the world in real-time. It also gives politicians, media, business leaders, and celebrities a soapbox to get their opinions out to the general public. This creates a natural feedback loop to reinforce what is “trending” at any given time.

Echelon Insights, a market research company, has taken advantage of Twitter’s gold mine of data to create a visualization of news in 2015. By analyzing 459.9 million tweets from Americans over the course of the last year, we can now see what topics trended, along with the timing and magnitude of each trending topic.

To ensure that trending news stood out, Echelon Insights removed some of the data outliers related to perennial conversations that get mentions, including President Obama (55 million mentions) and the Republican and Democratic parties. With that filter applied, the most discussed person or issue in the news this year was Donald Trump, with 43 million U.S. mentions, followed by Hillary Clinton, with 31.5 million.

Most Popular News Stories of 2015

SubjectNumber of tweets
Donald Trump43.0 million
Hillary Clinton31.5 million
Iraq & ISIS24.0 million
Bernie Sanders19.2 million
#BlackLivesMatter15.0 million
Iran14.8 million
Freddie Gray13.1 million
Jeb Bush12.5 million
Guns11.8 million
Planned Parenthood11.2 million

The above trending topics were relatively steady and newsworthy throughout the year. However, Echelon also tried to get an idea of the news stories that “spiked” the most by filtering out some of the more constant topics of conversation. Here are the top five stories along with the mentions they gained in the week that they dominated headlines:

Top 5 News Events of 2015

Top EventsNumber of tweets
The Paris attacks, Nov. 8–158.9 million
Freddie Gray & Baltimore, Apr. 26-May 37.1 million
Donald Trump & Muslim immigration, Dec. 6:5.0 million
The Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide, Jun. 214.9 million
The Charleston shooting, Jun. 143.2 million

The terror attacks in Paris dominated all headlines with 8.9 million tweets. Here’s a final look at the data, except this time it is the same filtered data visualized by mentions per day.

(Click for a larger image)
News headline by issue for each day

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