Google Zeitgeist is Google’s tool for researching what words and stories were trending at a particular time, and allows the public to search and compare different results all over the web. The results are gathered and mapped on a graph, which allows users to spot patterns in the trends, whether that is over the last hour, a month or a number of years. We can analyse these patterns to understand what makes people talk about certain events, and to predict trends to come.
One example of a yearly trend, that is currently trending, is The Oscars. The Oscars are obviously quite a popular event, which means they trend every year from January to March, however, when The Oscars have been perceived as controversial, their trending increases.
The Oscar nominations were announced on 24th January, however the trend did start a little before that. What can be predicted from the past years, is that the graph will continue to rise until 26th February, when it will dramatically peak, since this the night the Oscars take place.
After the #OscarsSoWhite scandal in 2016, The Oscars trended slightly more than in 2015, because controversy regarding more than just the nominations took place. This meant The Oscars were being talked about more than usual, not just by people on social media, but also by various news outlets, discussing the diversity in the nominations, rather than just the nominations. Due to this, the release of the Oscar nominations this year did not trend as highly as the previous year, since a more diverse group of actors and film received nominations, and less controversy was caused. Interestingly, however, ‘Oscar Nominations 2016’ began trending slightly again at the same time as ‘Oscar Nominations 2017’.
That being said, other controversies have come from this years Oscar nominations, especially on Twitter, as a lot of film fanatics were angry about the lack of representation in some slightly more independent films, a lot of which were received far better than some Hollywood films that got nominations, like Suicide Squad. There are some films nominated this year, like Suicide Squad, and Passengers, that were received quite poorly by the audience, so if they were to win Oscars, there is a chance this could cause some controversy and therefore trend more than 2016, for example, when the winners were predictable.