For the second half our year-end piece, we took a closer look at two major happenings in the latter months of 2015: Caitlyn Jenner and Netflix and Chill.
Caitlyn vs. Bruce
This year, the world was introduced to Caitlyn Jenner. Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, her story of transformation – from Olympian icon to transgender woman – swept the media by storm. Captivating audiences worldwide, the story was covered extensively by conventional media outlets, most notably Vanity Fair.
People around the world also took to social media to share their thoughts and spread the news. What did social chatter say? Was sentiment positive? Did this change over time? And when did people start making the transition from calling him Bruce to calling her Caitlyn? These are all things we wanted to know.
What We Found
The name ‘Caitlyn Jenner’ first emerged on social media on May 30, 2015. In the first two weeks, and the two weeks following that, the majority of chatter happened on Twitter, with popularity peaking on June 1 and more than a million people tweeted the news in the first 24 hours.
In the world of blogs, the majority of coverage turned out to be favorable, with 26% and 65% taking a positive or neutral tone, relatively speaking. While we thought coverage would get more positive over time, the average tone didn’t change by much (only a percentage point here and there).
In the weeks and months following June, we also assumed the mention of Bruce in association with Caitlyn would start to fade (which also didn’t happen). Data show the opposite to be true. In June, for example, 11% of tweets mentioning Caitlyn also included mention of Bruce. From July through the end of the year, this number grew to 13%.
July through December
So great – there was a lot of coverage in the beginning, and most of it appears to be the same now as it was in June. So what? Well, a few things:
First, the terms used in association with these tweets tended to change over time. As the word cloud below demonstrates, terms like ‘courage’ and ‘gorgeous’ appeared quite frequently. Around the time of the Espy awards (where Ms. Jenner was given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award), the language shifted focus to words like ‘hero’ (some seriously questioning whether or not Caitlyn was worthy of being a recipient).
Second, while Caitlyn Jenner has yet to be solely defined by her new name without reference to who she was before, her position on using her transformation to uplevel awareness and volume of conversation around issues in the transgender community is evidently up across the board.
Year to Date
Netflix & Chill
Another pop culture fad on the rise: “Netflix and chill.” In early November, we helped Tech Insider, a digital publication focused on tech, science, innovation, and culture, determine which cities were “Netflix and chill”-ing the most around the world.
While we thought this phrase would be short-lived, we were wrong. It seems here to stay (at least for a little while longer). In the last three months of 2015, the phrase was mentioned in over 2.7 million conversations on social media, mostly those happening on Twitter.
In that initial research, we found that “Netflix and chill” was mentioned an average of 908 times per hour (over a six month period). Since then, numbers are up: rising to 1,251 per hour. And while initial research showed the phrase was most used in the United States, it’s now spread to nearly all corners of the world.
The top five cities “Netflix and chill”-ing most toward the end of 2015:
- New York
- Los Angeles
While we assumed use of the term would increase during the holidays (as people tend to take time off and catch up on binge-worthy shows), we were surprised to find that frequency actually fell – with the exception of the night before New Year’s Eve.
What shows got the most cred? Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones,’ Aziz Ansari’s ‘Master of None,’ and Netflix’s original show ‘Narcos.’