Facebook Memology 2011: Osama’s Death Is Top Status Update, Rihanna Is Most Listened To

Facebook tonight released a wealth of data about 2011’s most shared content, both globally and for specific countries. Across the world, Osama Bin Laden’s death was the most popular status update topic, followed by the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl win and the Casey Anthony trial.

When compared with the top spiking tweets of the year, differences between Twitter and Facebook become clear. Twitter’s real-time focus led entertainment awards shows, natural disasters, and sports to dominate, while Facebook’s discussion capabilities led world news and celebrity deaths to trend there.

The official Facebook Page currently features a Memology 2011 app that displays popular cultural phenomena from several different countries. In the US and Canada, the acronym “lms” (like my status) became a prevalent way to request a visibility increase for one’s content. This indicates that users at least vaguely understand how the EdgeRank news feed sorting algorithm works. Meanwhile, “tbh” (to be honest) gained popularity as a method of expressing that one was speaking sincerely — context that can be difficult to determine purely from text.

The top 6 fastest growing news outlets were: 1. CNN, 2. Fox News, 3. NPR, 4. The Onion, 5. The New York Times, and 6. Al Jezeera, showing the diversity of opinions and interests of Facebook’s user base. Rihanna’s “We Found Love” was the most listened to song. Facebook’s inclusion of song listening data underscores how its new Open Graph listening applications could become a way to accurately track song popularity beyond sales.

Here are some more interesting findings scattered across the memology study:

Top Status Trends

  • US and Canada – lms (like my status)
  • UK – The Royal Wedding
  • India – The Jan Lokpal anti-corruption bill
  • France – Sexual assault charges against the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  • Italy – The required 40% voter turnout for June referendum votes to be valid
  • Germany – The death of Amy Winehouse
  • Brazil – Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts league
  • Russia – Steve Jobs
  • Spain – Indiginados economic and political representation movement
  • Australia – Planking

Fastest Growing Pages

  • Actors or TV Personality – Megan Fox
  • Movie – Harry Potter
  • TV Show – House
  • Musician – Rihanna
  • Athlete – Leo Messi
  • Sports Team – FC Barcelona