Welcome to the December 2022 edition of Top Conversations in Technology, where we break down which topics are leading, rising and falling each month to help technology marketers maximize relevance and adapt to changing market dynamics. In this month’s analysis, we focus on variations in news and blog citation volumes month-over-month (versus November 2022) and year-over-year (versus December 2021).
Big Picture: We saw the traditional slowing of tech conversations in December as focus diverted to the holidays and vacations. Seventy percent of the topics we track posted month-to-month declines, with an average drop of about 17%. There were a handful of topics that posted significant gains, namely #64 3D Design (up 310%) and #51 Domain Name System (up 229%), but most topics that posted gains were much closer to, or below, the 30% average. One stand-out leading into 2023: Emotional AI. This discussion registered the second–highest increase (up 287%) tied in part to chatbot coverage, but also to a Wired article on how Emotional AI is set to become a key component of machine learning in the year ahead. So, there’s that to look forward too.
Top Topics: Our top 10 rankings registered marginal shifts. The top four topics held position, led by #1 Cryptocurrencies (down 2%) and #2 Bitcoin (down 6%), with Smartphones holding steady at #3 (up 5%) followed by # Supply Chain (down 16%). Drones climbed to #5 (up 9%) tied to their usage in the Russia-Ukraine war. This pushed #6 Blockchain (down 5%) down one spot. #7 Ecommerce climbed one spot despite posting a 17% drop, while #8 Artificial Intelligence (up 9%) and #9 Wi-Fi (down 5%) regained spots in the top 10 (up from #12 and #11, respectively). #10 Cybersecurity rounded out the top 10 despite a 12% drop in stories from November to December. Meanwhile, #12 Layoffs slid out of the top 10 (down from #6), at least for one month (because it will likely be back in January), as did #13 Misinformation (down from #10).
From there, more movement. Layoffs/Furloughs registered a huge jump (up 148%) and climbed from #16 to #6, by far its highest ranking, and only time in the top 10, this year. #7 Drones registered a 23% decline (shifted from #4), while #8 E-commerce (up 23%) and #9 Cybersecurity (a minute change of 0.3%) held position tied to the upcoming holiday and related fraud warnings. Misinformation ranked #10 (thanks Elon) as Twitter stopped enforcing its Covid misinformation policy AND reinstated Donald Trump’s account. Good times.
What’s Climbing: Six topics registered substantial gains from November to December. This included:
- #64 3D Design – up 310%
- #205 Emotional AI – up 287%
- #51 Domain Name System – up 229%
- #202 Asynchronous Video – up 200%
- #218 Business Services Management – up 120%
- #198 Enterprise Video – up 99%
Outside of this set, the next highest gain was #95 Application Security (up 37%), and the numbers go down from there. All of this is somewhat normal, though, as conversations often hibernate for a week or two in late December.
Looking at our top 50 topics, the major gainers included #30 Domain Name (up 31%), #23 Encryption (up 18%), #46 Call Center (up 18%), #33 3D Printer (up 18%) and #37 NFT (up 15%). Topics like Encryption and NFT are linked to other hot discussions (crypto) that are still topping the charts. 3D Printers registered its third consecutive month of gains, with part of this discussion tied, unfortunately, to gun violence and usage to manufacture gun parts. And just to make sure you are really mad, remember who got the angry phone calls when millions of people were stranded during holiday travels? You guessed it: Call Centers. Good times.
What’s Falling? A lot, as December is traditionally a “down” month. We saw 153 of 218 topics loose ground, although only four of them – #193 Location Tracking/Privacy (down 84%), #132 Election Security (down 83%), #217 Adversary Detection (down 72%) and #214 Serverless Platform (down 64%) – shed more than 50% of their volume. Also of note, both Location Tracking/Privacy and Election Security fell from record highs in November to record lows in December.
Outside of these big shifts, top 50 topics that lost ground included November gainers like #12 Layoffs/Furloughs (down 49%), #29 Disinformation (down 36%), #25 Digital Transformation (down 25%),#13 Misinformation (down 24%) and #36 Venture Capital (down 22%). While I’m sure some of these are coming back all to soon (*cough* layoffs), it will be interesting to see if topics like Misinformation, Disinformation and Election Security trend down in this non-election year, or if it is all just build-up to what’s coming in 2024.
So What, Now What? Our next step is to look at the year as a whole and compare it to the abject existentialism of the last few years to see if we see any patterns. We’ll also ramp up 2023 with some new topics, so if you have ideas on additions, like “enterprise blockchain” or “generative AI,” let us know. In the meantime, wishing you all the best in both 2023 and the year of the rabbit.
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.