Perusing the results of what people across the world searched for in their droves during 2012 on Google Zeitgeist survey, has yielded most fascinating, and surprising, cultural differences. The results also explain why there is such a difference in cultural perception between Americans and Britons on certain issues, despite some shared history and experiences.
For a start, we all searched for one top person in 2012 - Whitney Houston. Perhaps her death at a young 48 was shocking to many, and they took to the Internet after the news became known to do their grieving or just learn more about her. Kate Middleton, the new princess, was also a firm favourite - tops in Britain, not surprisingly, but second in the US searches. Either way, she was a popular choice too, on both sides of the Atlantic. However, while Brits were concerned about mundane things like Euro 2012, the Olympics and the Olympic Torch route, Americans, understandably, were pre-occupied by Hurricane Sandy, the Presidential election and the Superbowl.
However, the real differences between the two countries showed up in what they wanted information and guidance on, the gaps they wanted to fill in their knowledge base. Among America’s top 5 searches, were how to love (no.1), how to vote and how to hate - emotional needs which sought some kind of resolution! While their British counterparts were far more interested in learning how to draw, how to kiss, to crotchet and to knit! All practical things which would develop their skills! In fact, Britons top search in another category was: what is love?!!, revealing that while Americans wanted to learn how to love, Britons don’t even understand the concept yet!!! It must be alien to them!
Brits and Americans don’t even agree on travel destinations. Brits wanted to know about Rio de Janeiro, Greece and Brazil as their top choices, while Americans favoured Toronto, Paris and San Juan. And while we were more interested in searching for Facebook and YouTube items, Americans were more interested in funny pictures and Nicky Minaj.
However, in the end, no matter what the differences, the cultural chasm appeared to be bridged by a boy band group, favoured on both sides of the Pond: One Direction. They were tops in both sets of searches for both countries, which goes to show that underneath it all, both countries share the same bad tastes in music!!
There is hope for us all yet. :o)