Welcome to the May 2021 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 April 2021) and year-over-year (versus May 2020).
Trending: May 2021 was amazing if you are a vegetarian who does not drive, lives off the grid and does not rely on any external infrastructure. But for the rest of us, it was a nail biter.
May’s word of the month, hands down, was ransomware. This topic blew up the charts, climbing from an “important but not the focus” #41 to #14 in the rankings. And while the Colonial Pipeline attack got a lot of attention, cyberattacks on meat-packing plants, state and local governments, hospitals and police departments pushed this malicious software into mainstream vernacular. It highlighted the overall vulnerability of critical systems as far reaching as the food supply chain, energy systems and personal security. Although the Colonial Pipeline payout in Bitcoin was eventually, mostly, recovered, the ransomware epidemic spotlighted new threats in the virtual world. Good times. Is it summer yet?
Top 10 Analysis: Cryptocurrencies moved into the #1 spot (up 17% from April), switching places with now #2 Bitcoin (up 14%). Ongoing volatility around cryptocurrencies, including China’s trading crackdown and Elon Musk’s manic support, keeps on pushing these topics higher. Smartphones held firm at #3 despite a 6% drop in story volume. Blockchain ranked #4 for the second month in a row, up only 6% from April but up 327% from a year earlier.
#5 Supply Chain and #6 E-commerce also held position in the rankings (up 5% and 3%, respectively). Cybersecurity ranked #7, jumping up from #12 tied to headlines on cyberattacks and ransomware. Video Conferencing ranked #8 (up from #9), switching places with #9 Artificial Intelligence (down from #8). 5G slid in the rankings (from #7 to #10) but managed to stay in the Top 10. Drones slid from #10 to #12 – the only topic to drop out of the Top 10.
What’s Climbing: The fastest-growing topic in May was Ransomware, up 339% from roughly 18K citations to just over 80K. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) ranked second in growth (up 253%), although this subtopic received considerably fewer mentions (from 782 in April to 2,759 in May). Other top gainers were related: Disinformation (up 151%), Encryption Keys (70%) and Supply Chain Security (67%). Four additional topics showed gains greater than 50%, including 3D Design (64%), Future of Work (63%), Process Analytics (59%) and Collaboration Software (52%).
What’s Falling: Enterprise Video, which had been gaining ground over the past few months, showed the most pronounced drop from April to May. It shed 83% of its mention volume, after posting a sizable 153% gain from March to April, and slid from #140 to #181. Similarly, other sizable drops (50% or more) were lower-ranked topics, including #187 Humane Technology (down 62%), #193 Thermal Monitoring (down 62%), #196 Business Services Management (down 60%), #194 Event Driven Applications (down 59%), #179 Location Tracking/Privacy (down 56%), #157 Domain Name Systems (down 52%) and #195 Utility Computing (down 50%). The highest-ranking topic to shed substantial volume was #28 Educational Technology (down 26%, from #22 to #28 in the rankings). With summer on the horizon, this is likely a seasonal drop.
Looking Ahead: After a chaotic May, June has to be more predictable, right? Probably not. But it is anybody’s guess what the next thing will be. As pandemic-related restrictions ease, and summer travel heats up, cybersecurity threats are growing and cryptocurrencies are booming. What could go wrong?
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments. =