By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

I’ve been trend watching all day.

The phrase “vice presidential debate live” was number one at top of Google’s hot trends when I got home from the office tonight. That phrase was followed by watch vp debate online, vp debate live stream, vp debate 2008 time, palin debate, palin bingo, palin biden debate live, and others. I came home towards the end of the debate so in many cases, the searches were still volcanic.

I’ve talked about trends many times before, with an election related trends post back in January of 2008. This post is less about politics and more about how as humans we perform searches online. It’s uncanny as to how predictable we actually are. Those that have heard me speak at conferences, events, and in bars, know this is a topic I’m passionate about. Follow the trends and learn to predict what’s coming next.

Presidential Debate TrendsTo the left is a screenshot that I took just after the October 2, 2008 vice presidential debate ended. Notice it was updated about an hour before I took the screenshot which pretty much puts the data write about in the middle of the debate time.

The top three phrases are specific to individuals on computers (at least that’s my take). The following four phrases are all related to the debate (palin bingo is related in case you’re wondering).

Ho-Hum and maybe not so exciting for you but I dig this stuff. The top three searches show massive amounts of people searching for stuff going on right now.

Before I left the office I printed out the hottest searches taking place around 6 p.m. Pacific time. Number one on that list was “vice presidential debate time” followed by “vp debate 2008 time” and then “palin biden debate time.” 3 volcanically hot searches all generally asking the same thing; what time is this event going to happen?

Looking at the difference in search popularity from before the debate to during the debate we can see that the trend went from what time can I watch to how can I watch (more specifically, how can I watch online).

Vice presidential debate news that was posted on planetchiropractic early this morning include information about what time the debate was taking place and where it was being held. If you read that article, you’ll notice it includes tags such as palin biden debate time and vp debate 2008 time. Those particular phrases were based on searches I noticed early in the morning and they were included with the article when posted. It’s too early for me to say whether using the terms affected search traffic but I will know tomorrow.

The debates are not over. We still have more to come before the November election. What you think the odds are we as a species will continue searching in a similar fashion? If you’re covering politics and posting related content you may be interested to pay attention to these trends and adjust your posts accordingly.

For those interested, below is a list of VP debate search trends I noticed throughout the day…

  • vice presidential debate live
  • watch vp debate online
  • vp debate live stream
  • vp debate 2008 time
  • palin debate
  • palin bingo
  • palin biden debate live
  • vp debate drinking game
  • vp debate washington university
  • biden bingo
  • sarah palin debate time
  • sarah palin drinking game
  • palin/biden debate
  • vp debate tv schedule
  • presidential debate october 2
  • biden plan debate time
  • v.p. debate
  • v p debate
  • vice pres debate time
  • debate bingo
  • veep debate
  • debate tonight

I’m predicting the following three as potential hot trend terms for October 15, 2008.

Debate Hofstra University
Presidential Debate Hofstra University
2008 Presidential Debate Hofstra University

Hofstra University (in Hempstead, New York) is the site of the October 15, 2008 presidential debate. It is the last debate before the presidential election.

Update: what should now seem obvious (20/20 hindsight) the top 2 searches immediatly following the debate were…. who won the vp debate & who won the vice presidential debate

We are a peculuar people.