BC Beat

Zombies, Cocaine Currency Top Social Media Focus

8/27/2009 02:57:43 PM

Healthcare and the war in Afghanistan may have claimed the major portion of coverage in the traditional news media, but in the social media, the leading topics were zombies and cocaine found on dead presidents.

That is according to the latest Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) New Media Index.

The social media exception was YouTube, where the top three videos were all related to town hall meetings on health care and the anger they engendered.

The top blog topic, according to the index, was the story of Canadian researchers’ “mathematical exercise to see if a zombie attack would lead to the collapse of civilization,” with 33% of the news-related links from the 100 million blogs surveyed.  The researchers were trying to use a media-catching model for a more serious look at the reaction to a pandemic.

That Zombie focus squares with the “weird science” trend in blog interest, says PEJ, citing recent top blog links to stories about meat-eating plant research and cats who have learned to manipulate their owners.

It was not the first appearance of Zombies in the PEJ New Media Index. For the week of Jan. 26-30, the second-biggest blog story was about a road sign in Texas that had been changed to read: “Zombies Ahead.”

The second largest news story on the blogs was health care.

The top Twitter news topic was a story that 90% of U.S. paper currency contained traces of cocaine (obviously nothing to sneeze at), with 10% of the news links to that story.  Cocaine currency came in at number number six on the blogs’ hit parade with 6% of the links.

The New Media Index is a weekly report that draws on the tracking of more than 100 million blogs and 250 million “pieces of social media” by Technorati and Icerocket, plus PEJ’s own Twitter tracking site.

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