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October 31, 2012

Facebook Explodes After Hurricane Sandy, Second Most Popular Topic of 2012

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

As far as storms go, Hurricane Sandy broke many records for its intensity, devastation, and--Facebook (News - Alert) posts?

That’s right--Hurricane Sandy is officially the year’s second-most-talked-about topic on the social media site Facebook, just behind February’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

Facebook calculates data on buzzed-about events on Facebook and keeps totals on the most popular and posted events according to its own ratings scale. Sandy immediately shot to number two at its peak on Monday, scoring an 8.34 on what Facebook calls its “Talk Meter.”

The “Talk Meter” measures from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest amount of chatter compared to an established baseline. The Super Bowl is just above Sandy, with an 8.62.

Other events worthy enough to hit the scale include the first Presidential debate (8.18), the Vice-Presidential debate (6.79), the Academy Awards (6.74) and the San Francisco Giants’ win of the World Series (6.71).

Hurricanes are understandably popular topics in social media, as the number of people they affect--either directly or through family members and friends--is considerable. Hurricane Isaac, the category 2 storm which hit the Gulf Coast this past August, measured on the Talk Meter as well, at 5.24.

The demographics for Facebook’s Talk Meter show equal numbers of men and women talking about Sandy, and the age group most vocal about the hurricane were those over 55.

Many of the posts followed along the lines of “Stay safe,” or “We are OK,” suggesting that Facebook was one of the most-accessible communication outlets for those affected by the storm. With phone lines down, roads blocked by trees and power out all across the Northeast Coast, it may seem surprising that so many people were able to access the Internet to get on Facebook, but the numbers do not lie: the site proved to be a popular outlet for Hurricane Sandy-related communication. 

Facebook reports more most-shared terms by U.S. users, including “made it,” “safe,” and “thankful.”

The breakdown of such information even rates the states with the highest number of Sandy postings, with Connecticut in the lead at 9.19. New Jersey, where Hurricane Sandy made landfall and which arguably suffered the most damage from the storm, registered at 9.16.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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