by Jim Quinn
One incredible thing about the big data era is that it allows us to crunch the numbers on pretty much anything.
Whether it’s analyzing a database of 50 million chess moves made during actual tournament gameplay, or developing a deep learning AI that sifts through billions of sensor inputs to learn how to drive a car with full autonomy – we can power nearly any analysis or algorithm with mountains of data.
Like the above examples, today’s infographic from Echelon Insights uses massive amounts of data to paint a picture of the news that wasn’t possible 10 or 20 years ago. By analyzing the words in over 2.8 billion tweets, the end result is a convincing set of visualizations that showcase the most talked about topics over the course of 2017.
The Talk of 2017
Not surprisingly, the conversation in 2017 on Twitter revolved mainly around one person – and you may have heard of him.
I love Twitter…. it's like owning your own newspaper— without the losses.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2012
According to Echelon Insights, Trump was mentioned 901.8 million times on Twitter in the United States over the duration of the year.
Here’s how that compares to some other notable politicians:
|Politician||Mentions in 2017|
|Donald Trump||901.8 million|
|Barack Obama||164.2 million|
|Hillary Clinton||123.2 million|
|Bernie Sanders||48.8 million|
|Mike Pence||31.4 million|
Trump was mentioned about 30x more often than his VP, and 7x more often than his one-time election opponent, Hillary Clinton.
And incredibly, Trump was the number one topic of daily conversation for 95% of the year, above every other issue and topic:
There were only 17 days in 2017 where Donald Trump was NOT the top topic of conversation, and he was the #1 story every week for every audience
– Echelon Insights, The Year in News 2017
But putting Trump aside, here are the specific narratives that received the most attention by users in the U.S. Twitterverse.
|Topic||Mentions in 2017|
|Russia investigation||180.4 million|
|Healthcare & Obamacare||151.6 million|
|James Comey||41.8 million|
|Sexual harassment scandals||36.6 million|
|Climate change & Paris Agreement||31.8 million|
|North Korea||28.2 million|
The Russia story dominated headlines on an ongoing basis.
The alleged collusion was a constant in the news cycle from February until August, and then it picked up again in November.
It was also the top story for two of the major groups that Echelon Insights tracks, the “Liberal Base”, as well as the “Conservative Base”. However, Russia was only the second most important story for the group “Beltway Elites”, falling behind the much-discussed topic of healthcare.