Google has released its 2008 Zeitgeist list. This is a list that compiles all the movers and shakers as far as terms go in their search index. In that link you can look through all the results which are, wait for it… amazingly American-centric. I know, I was shocked that ‘obama’ topped so many of the lists. That’s a real stunner.
Of course, the more obvious truth in all of this is that when you get down to it, no one gives a damned about Africa. Despite all everything Mugabe does, the new/old conflict in the DRC, nice solid elections in Ghana, and whatever else, nothing about Africa managed to make the top 10 in the list for any country except South Africa, which is kinda a given. Of course even in the ZA, most of the terms are directed towards American events, places, people, and things. And for other countries, you can take a peek here.
All of this goes to show that yes, it’s true that most people in the world don’t really care what happens there or more to the point that they care more about information on Sarah Palin. But something that really skews the stats is the fact that Africa has such little internet penetration to the continent in general. South Africa is good, which is why they get a spot on Google’s list (as well as the fact that Google probably figures they need to have at least one African country in there).
There is obviously room for improvement, but at the same time, people might want to look at how information is being spread about Africa. It is true that most people don’t care what happens in the “dark continent”, but at the same time Western media is doing little to help them care more. Stories about violence and tragedy only alienate the people in Africa more. We need more good stories and more real stories about everyday life.
For 2009, I’m sure there will be more of this to some degree though, at least out of Europe as the World Cup is going to be hosted in South Africa, which is the first time the Cup will be played on Africa in all its history. Hajdemo Hrvatska! Just had to get that out of the way right now ;)
And the Trends are... Not in Africa