Welcome to the September 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 August 2022) and year-over-year (versus September 2021).
Big Picture: Fall is upon us. In addition to breaking out the sweaters and snacking on all things pumpkin spice, we are apparently talking about all things crypto while bracing for the upcoming midterm elections. Conversation volumes for Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Blockchain surged even as Bitcoin’s value came crashing down and the Biden administration explored regulatory options. Election Security conversations were up 85% from August and up 95% from a year ago. Misinformation and Disinformation were down slightly from sizable August spikes (16% and 15%, respectively). September numbers for both topics outpaced averages for both Q2 and Q3. And there are no signs of these freight-train discussions slowing any time soon.
What’s on top? #1 Cryptocurrencies (up 47%) and #2 Bitcoin (up 34%) surged in September on mostly negative news. In addition to valuation volatility, the Biden administration is urging government agencies to “double down” on bitcoin and crypto enforcement, putting the market on a collision course with regulators at a time when recession fears are looming. Smartphones (up 7%) moved up to the #3 spot based on Apple iPhone 14 previews. Blockchain (up 43%) moved up to #4, fueled by completion of the Ethereum merge. Supply Chain (down 9%) fell to #5 as discussions shifted away from supply chain backlogs, at least for the time being.
Among other top topics, Cybersecurity climbed to #6 (up 31%) due in part to new emerging ransomware threats. E-commerce held steady at #7 (up 1%) but will likely show more growth heading into the holiday shopping season. Drones slipped to #8 (down 21%), followed by Semiconductors at #9 (down 9%). Wi-Fi came in at #10 (up 12%), displacing 5G which fell to #12 (down 8%). Artificial Intelligence (up 14%) sat right in the middle of these two, moving up to #11 as 5G slid down.
What’s Climbing: Three of the lower-volume topics showed the most pronounced gains: #202 Serverless Platform was up 133%, #211 Utility Computing was up 124%, and #198 Compute Service was up 103%. However, all gains translated to shifts of less than 120 stories. Higher ranking topics that showed sizable gains included:
- #67 Election Security – up 85%
- #39 Data Breach(es) – up 50%
- #1 Cryptocurrencies – up 47%
- #4 Blockchain – up 43%
- #2 Bitcoin – up 32%
Percent increases also drove sizable rank changes in topics ranked around 100. Voice Remote (up 82%) climbed from #118 to #97; Infrastructure Security (up 64%) went from #104 to #89; Storage Attached Networks (up 63%) climbed from #107 to #92; and Enterprise Software (up 31%) rose from #92 to #79.
What’s Falling? Just over one-third of topics (72 of 214) lost ground from August to September, with 14 shedding 20% or more of the respective story volume. The three biggest drops – all over 50% – were #212 Adversary Detection (down 59%), #99 Contact Tracing/Tracking (down 57%) and #213 Threat Telemetry (down 57%). Contact Tracing, which ranked #5 in September 2020, has been steadily dropping tied to COVID fatigue and shifts from pandemic to endemic. We’ll see if this trend holds into winter as the “triple threat” – flu, covid and RSV – takes hold. Other topics that lost ground included:
- #48 Domain Name – down 29%
- #8 Drones – down 21%
- #51 Data Security – down 20%
- #37 Augmented Reality – down 16%
- #43 Software Development – down 16%
- #19 Misinformation – down 16%
- #28 Disinformation – down 15%
What does it all mean? From August to September, we saw more movement in high volume topics than we’ve seen in previous months. There was growth in crypto and cybersecurity discussions including sub-discussions like Infrastructure Security (up 64%), Mobile Security (up 50%) and Web3 (up 17%). There were losses in areas like Drones, Semiconductors and Metaverse (down 1%) in the wake of August spikes. But the marginal nature of the losses mean the topics remained visible in mainstream discussions. Looking ahead to October, we are expecting more – wait for it – election coverage. Shocking. As midterms draw near, we will be watching to see if Election Security stays at the forefront, how misinformation and disinformation shift, and if other issues emerge. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.