Surely there are signs of intelligent life on Twitter? Well, yes and no. The most retweeted item concerned the death of "Glee" star Cory Monteith, originally sent by his co-star/girlfriend, Lea Michele. The second most retweeted news concerned the death of "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker. The third was the announcement by One Direction member Niall Horan that he just turned 20. (I know what you're thinking: I'm too old for this. Man, I hear ya.)
At Facebook, the most talked-about topic was not technically a living or a dead celebrity; it was the newly crowned Pope Francis. Also in the top 10: the royal baby, the Boston Marathon bombings, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, and (inevitably) Miley Cyrus.
When Facebook serves up the least frivolous list of topics, you know the planet has issues.
The Goo-gods must be crazy
I left Google for last because, well, it's Google's universe; we just feed its insatiable need for data. Seemingly just to show off the sheer enormity of the information it collects, collates, and monetizes each year, Google didn't publish one or two or three top 10 lists for 2013. It published 80 of them, everything from the top trending searches (Paul Walker) to the top workouts and exercises (the Insanity Workout).
A small platoon of sociologists could probably mine this data for years, but some of the highlights include the most searched for endangered species (tiger), Internet animal (grumpy cats), dog breed (bulldog), beer (Blue Moon), and celebrity pregnancy (Kim Kardashian outbumped Kate Middleton and Megan Fox).
In the "what is" category, twerking is number one (naturally), followed by ricin, which happens to be what you're tempted to take after spending too much time researching twerking. Curious Googlers also want to know what is DOMA, gluten, sequestration, Obamacare, lupus, and Snapchat.
Strangely, the ubiquitous Ms. Cyrus only snagged the top spot in two of them: most searched-for person and celebrity breakup. OK, three if you count most popular GIFs (twerking).
What, me worry?
What conclusion can we draw from all of the above? I think it's pretty obvious the Internet population is getting younger and more international. It's also getting way sillier.
Though serious topics made some lists (Nelson Mandela, Obamacare, natural disasters), the likes of Edward Snowden, the U.S. government shutdown, the worsening of the global climate crisis, nuclear threats from crazy dictators, and other important news failed to grab much attention.
Maybe 2013 marks the year the Net fully transformed from an information medium to an entertainment one. In any case, it will soon be over, and that's a good thing. May the searches of 2014 prove a bit more substantial.
What did you search for in 2013? Post your fave topics below or email me: email@example.com.
This article, "Our searches, ourselves: The year's top tweets, trends, and more," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.