The Year in News 2017, According to 2.8 Billion Tweets

by Jim Quinn

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

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.

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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.

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Topic Mentions in 2017
Russia investigation 180.4 million
Healthcare & Obamacare 151.6 million
Immigration 48.0 million
Hurricanes 43.2 million
James Comey 41.8 million
Sexual harassment scandals 36.6 million
China 36.2 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.

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