Planking, Census And Osama Big News On Facebook

  • Facebook collects data on trends
  • Biggest global topic is Osama bin Laden
  • Fickle fads seem to score highly

A recent survey carried out by Facebook offers up and interesting insight in the psyche of Australian Facebook users. Facebook Memology 2011 is data that shows the top ten Facebook status trends for 2011 by key countries and globally, which also begs the question on how they collected the data as the social networking faces flak yet again over privacy issues.

For Australia, the top ten status trends included:

  • Planking
  • Cyclone Yasi
  • Census
  • Death of Osama Bin Laden
  • Skrillex
  • Victorian Floods
  • Daniel Morcombe
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Death of Amy Winehouse
  • Cadel Evans

Each year, millions of people post on Facebook to share what's important to them, discuss world events, or just goof off with their friends. With more than 800 million people connected around the globe on Facebook news about the world's triumphs and tragedies – as well as the latest – spread fast.

 The year's biggest sports event came in February, when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to win Super Bowl XLV. Chatter about the Packers spiked with each post-season match, culminating in their victory on Feb. 7.

Charlie Sheen captured people's attention in March with his "winning," "tiger blood" and "goddesses" memes spreading rapidly across Facebook. Later that month, the United Nations military operations started in Libya, prompting a surge in status updates mentioning "Libya" and "Gaddafi."

The marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William  dominated the conversation in April, with mentions of the phrase "Royal Wedding" shooting up nearly 600-fold in the days running up to their wedding day.

Just two days later, the death of Osama bin Laden became the most talked about event on Facebook for 2011. On May 1, almost 10 percent of all status updates in English mentioned news of his death.

As well as identifying the top ten global topics on Facebook, we also dug through the data to identify the top trending cultural phenomena for the year.

Planking was the flash in the pan meme on Facebook for 2011. Status updates mentioning planking, where people lie face down in unusual locations, exploded in May. That happened after Max Key, the son of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, posted a Facebook photo of himself planking in the family lounge with his father in the background .

The fad quickly lost steam, then rebounded in July when celebrities such as Tom Green, Chris Brown and Katy Perry got in on the act.  But even they couldn't stem planking's eventual decline.

2011 was also the rise of the DJ and music producer Skrillex. Although Skrillex has been around for years, his 2011 tour, a collaboration with Korn, and record label launch prompted a 76-fold increase in the number of people mentioning him in their status updates on Facebook. 

Top 10 Global Topics on Facebook

  • Death of Osama bin Laden
  • Packers win the Super Bowl
  • Casey Anthony found not guilty
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Death of Steve Jobs
  • The Royal Wedding
  • Death of Amy Winehouse
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Military operations begin in Libya
  • Hurricane Irene

To 10 Actors and TV Personalities

  • Megan Fox
  • Vin Diesel
  • Adam Sandler
  • Selena Gomez
  • Will Smith
  • Taylor Lautner
  • Jackie Chan
  • Ashley Tisdale
  • DJ Pauly D
  • Kim Kardashian

Top 10 Musicians

  • Rihanna
  • Bob Marley
  • Avril Lavigne
  • David Guetta
  • Enrique Iglesias
  • Usher
  • Lady Gaga
  • Metallica
  • Green Day
  • Black Eyed Peas

Top 10 Athletes

  • Leo Messi
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • John Cena
  • Ricardo Kaka
  • David Beckham
  • Michael Jordan
  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Andres Iniesta
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Cesc Fàbregas

Sports Teams

  • FC Barcelona
  • Real Madrid C.F.
  • Manchester United
  • LA Lakers
  • Chelsea Football Club
  • Liverpool FC
  • A.C. Milan
  • Arsenal
  • Galatasaray
  • Fenerbahce
  • PBS

Most Played Games

  • CityVille
  • FarmVille
  • The Sims Social
  • Texas HoldEm Poker
  • Empires & Allies
  • Bubble Witch Saga
  • Gardens of Time
  • Diamond Dash
  • Bejeweled Blitz
  • Bubble Island