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This piece was originally published in the December 17, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.
Happy holidays! After spending last year celebrating with only my boyfriend and roommate, I’m excited to be writing you from my hometown in Missouri, as I prepare to celebrate Christmas with my family.
It seems I’m not the only one. Our team found that the volume of organic social media posts that aren’t directly related to the holidays is down significantly.
Read on to learn more. But first, in case you missed it, check out our December 6 edition of What’s Trending?
WHAT’S TRENDING THIS WEEK
Covid-19: On Tuesday, the United States officially surpassed 800,000 Covid-19 deaths. The Omicron variant has led to an increase in cases around the country, but studies show that being fully vaccinated, including a booster shot when necessary, still prevents severe and/or lethal infection. 72% of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated, 85% have received at least one dose, and 30% have received booster shots.
WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL
It was a rough week for progressive content on Facebook. Conservative pages authored eight of the top ten political Facebook posts this week, with six of those coming from Ben Shapiro’s page alone. Evidently, the decline we observed with that page and Daily Wire articles in September has been firmly reversed.
This week’s top progressive posts included several topical photo posts and screenshots from the Other 98%, a post from President Biden highlighting actions taken to lower gas prices, and a remembrance of Sandy Hook victims from Barack Obama.
For conservative pages, top posts were centered around individual public figures rather than policy fights. Eight of the top ten posts focused on either Jussie Smollet’s trial verdict or Chris Wallace’s departure from Fox News, with both developments being celebrated.
The most notable trend on Facebook over the past week was an overall slowdown in engagement. Topics that are typically front page news for most outlets, such as COVID-19 vaccines, the Omicron variant, and inflation, actually saw fewer interactions over the last two weeks than in the previous period.
One simple explanation: Pandemic or not, the December holiday season is here. Posts that included “holiday,” “Christmas,” “Chanukah,” or “Kwanzaa” are averaging over 2 million interactions a day, and almost everything else is falling by the wayside.
We saw two exceptions to this trend: Posts related to abortion rights saw a modest uptick in interactions compared to our last report, and there was also a significant increase for former Chief of Staff and House Representative Mark Meadows. Meadows’ texts to lawmakers and Fox News personalities were revealed by the January 6th Committee on Monday and led several nightly news shows for much of this week, which was, in turn, reflected on Facebook.
These are important stories, and it’s good to see they can still break through with a concentrated, cross-platform effort.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Please do forward this along to your friends who are interested or encourage them to sign up here.
This newsletter is written by me, Alex Witt (@alexandriajwitt), a progressive political staffer and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her), and CAP Action’s fantastic team of designers, data analysts, and email strategists.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.
Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships
Explore The Series
Welcome to “What's Trending?”, a weekly newsletter to help progressives answer the age-old questions: What works, and what doesn't? “What's Trending?” cuts through the noise to bring you the best (and worst) of what's happening on social media in the policy space, and explains why it's important.