Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Comparing Real Interest and Media Interest

The most interesting thing to me about this Inside Facebook story on Facebook surpassing Myspace in US Google searches was the accompanying graph. While it’s big news in an of itself, a closer look at the search versus news coverage tells an interesting story. Starting in the middle of 2007 Facebook began to overtake Myspace in media mentions. At the same time Myspace was roughly four times more popular as a US search term. While that gap slowly closed over the last two years, the media coverage for Facebook was consistently at or above Myspace.

Now I mention this because if you were to follow just media mentions (which many do), you would be falsely led to believe that Facebook was far more popular than Myspace. This isn’t a particularly revolutionary idea, but comparing searches (intentions) versus news mentions on Google trends gives a nice way to compare these things in a simple way.

Got any more of these trends that show the media over-representing? (For the record, I’m not sure the media is doing anything wrong here. Facebook was the property who’s interest was growing. With that said, it’s impossible to say what that growth would have looked like without the aggressive coverage.)

February 7, 2009