Hurricane Sandy Is 2012’s Second Most-Discussed Topic On Facebook

Hurricane Sandy has become 2012’s second most-discussed subject on Facebook, according to CNN. Data provided by the social media giant revealed that only the Super Bowl has fired more discussion this year.

The superstorm peaked on Facebook’s “Talk Meter” on Monday, when it scored an 8.34. February’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants scored as high as 8.62. These scores measure buzz about a news event using a scale of 1 to 10 when compared with a baseline.

To put that in context, some of the year’s other hotly discussed topics included:

First presidential debate: 8.18
Vice-presidential debate: 6.79
Academy Awards: 6.74
Giants winning the World Series: 6.71
Hurricane Isaac: 5.24
Announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate: 5.21

Facebook also revealed that young whippernsappers are not chatting about Sandy as much as those over 55, and that men and women were discussing the storm in equal numbers. At 10am EST on Tuesday, the most common term used by US users was, “We are OK” – presumably people sharing good news with family and friends.

Unsurprisingly, chatter about Sandy was most common in those eastern states that lay in the path of the storm. Facebook’s data reveals that the top ten states talking about Sandy were:

1. Connecticut: 9.19
2. New Jersey: 9.16
3. New Hampshire: 9.12
4. Delaware: 9.02
5. Rhode Island: 8.98
6. New York: 8.96
7. Washington: 8.96
8. Massachusetts: 8.95
9. Maryland: 8.94
10. Pennsylvania: 8.92


Facebook wasn’t the only social media site to see a dramatic rise in user interaction. The Daily Telegraph reports how Instagram users posted at least 521,000 photos with the hashtag “Sandy.” At its peak, Instagram users were posting ten pictures of the storm every second.

Jeff Sonderman, a digital media fellow at The Poynter Institute, told the Telegraph:

“Natural disasters and tragedies are emerging as a way for social media services to gain respect and legitimacy as world-changing agents as well.

“You can see why a national disaster as told through Instagram could be powerful. In theory, Instagram has Twitter’s immediacy, and a broader reach, since it pushes notices out via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram’s own network, and email. Clearly images are the best way to tell a story like this, and Instagram’s whole raison d’etre is to make people better photographers.”

Did you use social media to discuss Hurricane Sandy?