The Trending Searches in 2021
Google’s data editor Simon Rogers once said, “You’re never as honest as you are with your search engine. You get a sense of what people genuinely care about and genuinely want to know.”
This look at trending searches for every U.S. state is a window into the topics people were truly curious about in 2021. From political tensions to meme stocks, and from Elon Musk to a devastating tornado, we saw a wide range of trending searches throughout the year.
In the above animated video, Reddit user u/V1Analytics pulls together the top trending search terms from Google’s 2021 Year in Search summary (for the period before mid-November 2021) and Google’s Daily Search Trends page (from mid-November to December 20th) to illustrate the daily trends for each state.
It’s fascinating to see what Americans were looking up this year.
Trending Searches Offer a Glimpse of American Psyche
In the year when COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, many Americans turned to the world’s most popular search engine to figure out how to come back to a life of normalcy.
In 2021, the search entries spoke to people’s interest in alternative assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs, as well as persistent economic insecurity, evidenced by questions about when they would get their stimulus checks.
Entertainers and billionaires trended throughout the year, and so did topics of significant cultural impact at those moments in time.
Here is a look at the trending searches of 2021 and when they were searched most:
|Dogecoin||January, April, May||Cryptocurrency|
|Power Outage||June, July, August||Society|
|Lil Nas X||March||Entertainment|
|Prince Philip||April||Famous Personalities|
|Jake Paul||April, August||Content Creator|
|AMC Stock||May, June, August||Entertainment|
|Hurricane Ida||August||Climate Change|
|Squid Game||October||TV Shows|
Notable Trending Searches in 2021
Here’s a look at a few of the notable searches that trended across the U.S. in 2021:
President Biden and Capitol
Unsurprisingly, the year started with news of the presidential election and the U.S. Capitol riot, as President Biden was set to take office.
In six states, however, the top trending search was still related to the Mega Millions jackpot, even as individuals stormed the Capitol Building.
One of the most sought-after games of the year, Valheim, came on the market in February, 2021. By August, it had garnered over 8 million users. The developing company’s new Hearth and Home patch has skyrocketed the game’s appeal even more.
In March, the U.S. government unveiled their plan to distribute the third stimulus check to Americans.
People started looking for more information about when they would be getting their checks and if there had been any changes in the amount they would receive.
Created in 2013 as a parody of Bitcoin, Dogecoin saw record trading levels in May 2021. This was in part due to Elon Musk supporting the cryptocurrency.
The Dogecoin market capitalization surged to a peak of $88 billion, worth more than three-quarters of the companies in the S&P 500.
After suffering significant losses due to the pandemic-related shuttering of theaters across the country, AMC Entertainment became a fan favorite of Reddit-based retail traders who drove the share price up beyond what most analysts considered reasonable.
AMC’s stock price rose by 95% in a couple of days, reaching a record high of $63 per share. This was the latest phase of the meme stock frenzy.
President Biden decided to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021, ending the longest war the country has ever fought.
As an immediate consequence of the withdrawal, the Taliban militia took over the country and the government. The event, which was broadcast in near real-time, caused widespread panic among the citizens as some attempted to flee the country.
What’s in Store for 2022
It’s going to be everyone’s best guess as to what the trending searches for 2022 will be. Based on the events that dominated the news throughout the year, a few predictions could be made.
Experts predict that we will be moving to an endemic stage of the pandemic, which is bound to profoundly impact how we live in 2022.
New trends, movies, TV shows, and even newer gadgets will surely catch everyone’s attention next year. It will be fascinating to see what’s on the minds of people in the coming 12 months.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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