Is the world coming to an end? How can we make sense of what is happening and preparefor it? Google Trends and real-life events are often correlated. Nothing happens instantly, of course, especially events of real scale and influence. In the months leading up to the COVID pandemic, there were growing reports of a dangerous disease spreading in China. This can also be seen in the stats of Google searches for this topic. The same happened with Ukraine. The country’s name took place among the leading searches on Google trends where it is related to searches for “war” and “news”. Spikes and drops in Bitcoin pricing have always been preceded by an increase in Google queries.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s take the first three trends. Monkeypox, Johnny Depp and Ellen Degeneres. Apparently an monkeypox and two celebrities are different types of diseases. The first disease quickly strikes the public body, the second two – strike the public consciousness. And it’s not a joke. Viruses invade our body, disrupting the normal course of life, causing an immune response. Memes and social viruses behave in a similar way, attracting a lot of attention, causing a revolt in the public consciousness. We can be blamepublic attention on the general susceptibility to sensationalism, but is there something else behind this, something deeper? My hypothesis is affirmative. Johnny Depp and his life were turned inside out by public hearings, pointing to universally important issues. The problem of love and hate, the problem of our interaction with loved ones and relatives. As for Ellen Degeneres and the cancellation of her show, it’s a classic take of falling from grace – whether it’s public recognition or TV bosses. It brings up the topics of success, popularity and the fleeting nature of the power that comes from such a source. This is extremely important, as well as the issues of life and death that arises along with the topic of diseases.
Therefore, smallpox, Johnny Depp’s trial and Ellen Degeneres are not coincidental trends. And it is no coincidence that Google singled them out in their algorithms – this is telling of our daily agenda. I am sure that the consequences of Depp’s and Heard’s relationship, now available to everyone, will play a role in the public consciousness, like the trends that preceded them related to COVID, NFT or Bitcoin. The new crypto reality told us that the world is still able to change and bring a fresh wind of constant change, like the Gutenberg printing press, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Addison’s light bulb or Google technologies that have dramatically changed our habits, ways of living and ideas about the world.
Another recent trend is the scandal between Chris Rock and Will Smith. What was the phenomenon of this trend? It touched another string of our inner workings. Freedom of speech or ethics? What is more important for us? Should celebrities show their human feelings in public? Is it possible to say everything, even in jest, if it is done in public? Is it acceptable to react so sharply? Where are the boundaries of this reaction? The scales of public opinion will eventually inform us about the new boundaries of what is allowed or condemned. We ourselves are constantly formatting our public consciousness without noticing it, too.