It’s the end of the year, and listmania has taken hold. Call it a virus. Call it a pandemic. As 2012 comes to a close, you can’t look anywhere without seeing lists. No, these aren’t hastily scrawled grocery lists and To Do lists, nor are they carefully rendered Christmas lists sticky-noted to refrigerators; these are Big Ticket lists created by connoisseurs of culture and taste. The Top 10 Movies of the Year, Songs, the Worst Dressed, etc. However, the fun doesn’t stop there; everyone, it seems, needs to get in on this end of the year parlor game. You’ll also find the following: The most searched words on Google, the top searched terms on Yahoo, and the 10 most searched words on Merriam Webster’s online dictionary.
So What Can We Make of All this Ballyhoo?
What, indeed. And where exactly to begin? Not even an army of 20,000 writers drubbing the keys for website content services could up with enough blogs to explain the social and psychological ramifications of these lists. However, here, of course, is a list to get the ball rolling.
1. According to Yahoo, Kim Kardashian was the “most searched” for person of 2012. Who exactly is searching for her remains to be seen, as her reality show is looped 24/7 and not a day goes by when she doesn’t post a photo of herself in a bikini. In the tabloid tussle of 2012, Kim (KKard?) had no problem taking out Lindsay Lohan, who entered the list at disappointing #9.
2. Also on Yahoo’s list: U.S. election( #1), Olympics, iPhone 5.
3. Facebook, YouTube, Hotmail, Google and Yahoo round out the top five most searched for words on Google. No surprises here. However, a joke could be made about Google Googling itself. Who knew the Internet had a soft spot for metafiction?
Here’s Where It Gets Interesting
4. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, two words share the top spot for 2012: Capitalism and Socialism. Whoa, hold on…how did this happen? From Kardashian to Capitalism simply by changing search platforms; it looks like it. Kapitalism, then, perhaps?
5. Merriam-Webster’s list also features such jewels as bigot, malarkey, touche, meme, and schadenfreude.
6. Save some time and don’t bother Googling, Yahooing or looking up schadenfreude in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary.
a) German; schaden, to damage. Freude; joy.
b) def: taking joy in the misfortune of others.
7. Going back to Capitalism and Socialism for a minute. How can there really be a tie? It’s nonsense, conspiratorial.
So What Has the Internet Taught Us in 2012?
Pop culture and politics rule, and there’s a chance that politics only showed up on these lists because it was an election year. When every media outlet is saturated with the same names and faces, we search for them anyway. What does this say about us? Well, that’s entirely different list. Until then, let’s flip on the Kardashians and enjoy a little schadenfreude.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.