Catching up with some old trends — where are they now?

I have a strange fascination with those “where are they now” shows featuring the fates of famous people from years ago.  I know either they are washed up and broke, or made a fortune in real estate, or went back to college and earned a Ph.D. in some hard science.

For trends on Twitter, alas, the washed up fate is the most probable. It seems like only a few weeks ago that #Julia was a hot trend on Twitter.  What’s she been doing with herself lately? (I’m pretty sure if turns out she got a Ph.D., there’s a government grant in there somewhere).

There’s actually a lot of these short-lived trends that get started on Twitter: everyone piles on, and then they fizzle out.  I have been tracking a bunch of them for a while.  And since I too have the Twitter attention span, I now have months of data on long dormant trends.  But bit’s interesting to look back at some of their brief lives.  They shone so brightly but so briefly.

Let’s start with Obamacare, which shot through the roof when the Supreme Court ruled it (mostly) legal:

Click on image to see larger

Although it’s calmed down since its peak, bumping up against the 20K mentions per day is still very respectable.  In fact, it has such a regular pulse I have to wonder if there isn’t a pacemaker involved, shocking tweeple one a week or so to post a #obamacare tweet.

Along with Obamacare in general was the hashtag #FullRepeal, for those folks who expressed the desire to completely and totally undo the Affordable Care Act:

Note the log scale.  So much fun in Excel, it’s hard to contain myself

It’s still bouncing around at about 100 mentions a day, which isn’t really much of anything.  I’m pretty sure any random topic you care to pick is going to get that kind of traffic just from people spilling beer on their keyboard and shorting out random keys.

How about that recent subject of conservative infatuation, #Julia, the lady whose every major life event has a government program that supports her?

#Julia fell off a log, at least on a log scale…

Oh, #Julia must be so very sad. She needs a government program for social media marketing, it seems.  And when it came to conservatives, they just wanted to love her and leave her.  I hear she’s holding up her baby and a sign that says “The GOP built this”, looking to get back onto the trending topics list.

How about that Obama hashtag, #dontdoublemyrate, for college kids who didn’t want higher priced loans?

All right, everybody, on the count of 3. One! Two! Th … oh, we won? Nevermind!

Since something was passed into law, interest in interest has fallen faster than at an off-off-Broadway reading of the minutes of the Federal Reserve. Maybe if Ritalin gets covered under Obamacare college kids can stay focused on it.

Finally, that no good, horrible, mixed-up day where the Romney campaign expressed its Anglo-Saxon bromance with England?

This one has staying power, I’m sure

That pretty much died out after Mitt went to Israel to say that really our BFF-est relationship was with Israel and then tried out a few warmed-over borscht-belt jokes: “I just ate at the Knesset cafeteria again today. The food’s not so good, but the portions are huge! Hey Sheldon! Nice seeing you here. Two shows folks, and don’t forget to tip the SuperPac.”.

Funny, isn’t it, how these trends take off, everybody gets excited about them, and then a few weeks later it’s just old news.Twitter has reduced us to the attention span of house cats … one moment, it’s “L-A-S-E-R   P-O-I-N-T-E-R!!!!” and the next it’s nap time…