May 17, 2023

Aliens, air fryers and a trip back in time

Date & Time (GMT):
May 17, 2023 12:47 PM
Date & Time (EST):
May 17, 2023 12:47 PM

The Moments Matrix is a guide to what’s trending on the world’s leading social media sites. Find out what’s going viral and what's here to stay across mainstream and niche topics.

This week's matrix has been compiled by Nichefire.

   Image by: The Social Intelligence Lab    

Conversation on police violence re-emerges after death of Tyre Nichols
The Tyre Nichols protests began following the release of police body camera and surveillance footage showing five Black officers from the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department beating Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man. Nichols died three days later in the hospital. This is the latest instance in which police violence has led to major protests - leading to mounting pressure for lawmakers to enact policies that will hold individual police officers accountable. Although these kinds of news cycles last about 2 weeks, the conversation around police violence has been persisting for quite some time.
Data Source: News/media, Twitter, Google

New competition arises in the AI chatbot craze
We all know about ChatGPT by now. As of late, there has been conversation sparking about how this technology will revolutionize the search engine market. So much so that Microsoft has already implemented ChatGPT in their Bing search engine. Then, Google recently announced its competitor to ChatGPT: Bard. Already, ChatGPT has sparked significant interest and consideration for the applications of AI for now and time to come.
Data source: Google, news/media, Twitter, Reddit, Wikipedia, web traffic

ChatGPT take two: Concerns over its use
We included ChatGPT on this list again because of another narrative developing with the technology. The problems arising with its use - kids using it to cheat on school work, people creating websites that mimic characters and attempting to make them gain sentience, attempts to pass the bar exam, and others. The issues have become prominent enough that OpenAI has released a tool to detect AI-written text. The whole controversy has brought into question what ethical use for these tools looks like.
Data Source: Google, Wikipedia, News/Media, Twitter

Hogwarts Legacy and the impact on the transgender conversation
The latest video game to come out also sparked major controversy. Many fans of the Harry Potter series and gamers alike have been patiently waiting for Hogwarts Legacy to come out. And it's garnered very positive reviews. However, many fans are conflicted due to J.K. Rowling's comments regarding the transgender community. As a result, this conversation turned into a larger, more complex question about the relationship between art and the artist - can people appreciate the art knowing the faults of the artist? This question will likely come up time and time again.
Data Source: News/media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit

Tech sector layoffs become a meme
Throughout much of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, the tech sector has been having a tough time course-correcting following the pandemic. Many companies - like Microsoft, Meta, Google, Amazon, and other - have announced massive layoffs. And just recently, Yahoo announced it will be laying off 20% of its workforce. New announcements of layoffs have been so frequent, that communities on Reddit have been tracking the news, interested parties have built websites tracking the layoffs (like, and memes across social media have come about.
Data source: News/media, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit


The public braces for Beyonce's Renaissance tour
After Ticketmaster recovered from their botched presale for Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour, they are now bracing for Beyonce's latest announcement for her Renaissance tour. Following the news, 1 million+ people began searching for Beyonce tickets.
Data source: News/media, Google, web traffic, Twitter

Chinese spy balloon causes stir between the US and China
A Chinese spy balloon was discovered and shot down over the US, ramping up tensions between the two countries. As a result, millions of searches for pictures of the balloon occurred followed by politically charged discourse regarding how the government should respond to the situation.
Data source: News/media, Twitter, Facebook, Google

The 2023 Grammys: Winners and controversies
The 2023 Grammys awarded some of the most talented musical artists of 2022 - such as Lizzo, Harry Styles, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, Adele, and more. However, the event also sparked some criticism. First, Sam Smith and Kim Petras performed their song "Unholy" - the result ended in numerous FCC complaints and a swath of outrage from Christians denouncing the performance as "satanic". Then Madonna garnered significant criticism over her appearance. And lastly, Harry Styles winning Album of the Year sparked a clash with Beyonce fans... a lot to unpack!
Data source: News/media, Google, Twitter, Instagram

TikTok shows proof "good sides" are a thing
One of the latest trends on TikTok shows proof that good sides are a thing. More or less, TikTok creators are posting videos showing one side of their face (their "bad" side) and then showing the other side of their face (their "good" side). The intrigue behind this phenomenon has garnered millions of video views across thousands of videos.
Data source: TikTok

HBO's The Last of Us becomes an instant sensation
The Last of Us became one of HBO's next hit shows, averaging 15 million viewers per episode. One of the fascinating characteristics of a show like this is its ability to spark trends and superfandom in other areas - such as the Last of Us video games, the shows actors (Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, etc.), and reviving music from artists like Linda Rondstadt (a trend we'll cover later!).
Data source: Google, news/media, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit

US President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address
President Biden delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday - topics he addressed included the creation of 12 million new jobs, progress with inflation, semiconductor production, infrastructure, Ukraine, and other topics. However, Biden's address was met with disruptive heckling and criticism during his address by GOP lawmakers.
Data source: News/media, Twitter, Google

Trends from trends: Linda Rondstadt trends after Last of Us episode
Episode 3 of the hit show The Last of Us featured the song Long Long Time by Linda Rondstadt (no spoilers!) - the result led to Linda Rondstadt to trend. Streaming for the song Long Long Time rose by 4,900% and reach to the top of three billboard charts. This was a unique instance in which a trend started from another trend. Other trends the spurred out of this included research on the lead actors - Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey - and the video game series the show is based on.
Data source: Twitter, Facebook, Google, TikTok, Instagram

Travis and Jason Kelce reach new heights of the Super Bowl
With the Super Bowl approaching, one of the narratives that has garnered some traction is the face-off to come between two brothers: Jason Kelce on the Philadelphia Eagles and Travis Kelce on the Kansas City Chiefs. The brothers also started a podcast called New Heights that has become one of the leading sports podcasts and niche fan communities have started as a result.
Data source: Reddit, podcasts

In memoriam: Our fascination with deaths from previous years
It's 2023 and one trend that never fails is the research into who has died in 2022. Wikipedia keep track of all celebrities and public figures that have passed away in previous years and traffic to these pages jump up tremendously at the beginning of every year.
Data source: Wikipedia

Blockbuster films leads to research around top grossing films
We've heard about some the latest blockbusters - such as Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and one of India's highest grossing films, Pathaan. What has ensued following the success of these movies is the box office income comparison to other movies. In addition, to the interest in the movies, interest relating to their box office success and income followed - Wikipedia seeing over 1 million views on pages for top performing movies alone.
Data source: Wikipedia, Google


Inflationary New Year's resolution: Eating cheap and healthy
The combination of rising prices and New Year resolutions have led to growth in communities around cheap and healthy eating. Communities for the topic on Reddit, like r/EatCheapAndHealth, have grown by over 40% and some of the latest topics include recipes, recommendations for those on Food Stamps, and ideas for Costco and Dollar General shoppers. With many trying to watch their weight after the holidays and the prices of everyday products hitting all-time highs, this trend is a no-brainer!
Data source: Reddit

The Pandemic and the Rise of Home Improvement
Subscribers for home improvement Reddit communities (like r/HomeImprovement) tripled in size since the beginning of the pandemic. Contracted home improvement projects were among some of the most prominent trends that have persisted since the pandemic. However, while some of the DIY home improvement topics have tapered off, discussions regarding contractors and recommendations for new homeowners have risen. This correlates with the rise of homeownership in recent years - which reached its highest level since 2011.
Data source: Reddit, Google

US Mortgage rates dip for the first time since September
The day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by another quarter percentage point, mortgage rates dipped under 6% for the first time since September. With homebuyers starting to see more relief from high mortgage rates, this could be an indication of easing pains in consumer spending and a positive trajectory for the economy.
Data source: News/media, Google

The rise of true crime interest in America
Over half of Americans enjoy the true crime genre - with the rise of podcasts and streaming, it has gradually grown to significant popularity over the past few years. Reddit communities have nearly tripled in size, and search and YouTube traffic and interest have more than quadrupled in size.
Data source: Reddit, YouTube, Google, Podcasts

Social commerce: Latest direct-to-consumer trends
As consumers spend more and more time on platforms like TikTok, the more important it will be for brands to consider how they sell on those platforms. Although social commerce channels, like livestream shopping, are more popular in China, they are gaining popularity in the US and Europe. This means brands will need to consider the right channels and mix of influencers more critically in 2023.
Data source:Instagram, TikTok, Facebook

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