Welcome to the June 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 May 2022) and year-over-year (versus June 2021).
Big Picture: Hard to believe we are already in the second half of 2022, barreling towards midterm elections and the legal battle to see what happens with Elon Musk and Twitter. Get out your popcorn!
We have seen ebbs and flows this year throughout the Top Conversations as a reaction to current events. But the top 6 topics – Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Supply Chain, Smartphones, Blockchain and E-commerce – have been consistently ranked despite marginal volume changes. Beyond that, we’ve seen a little more volatility: five topics have rotated through the #7 through #10 positions, including Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Drones, Wi-Fi and 5G. Then there’s the outliers: Financial Technology ranked higher in January (trends to watch, links to crypto), and Venture Capital surged in May (midterm candidates like J.D. Vance). It’s always something, amiright?
June’s Top Ten: The top topics in June echoed the first-half rankings. Cryptocurrencies were #1 despite a marginal drop in coverage volume (down 1%), followed by Bitcoin (up 6%). #3 Supply Chain posted a 10% volume decline but still registered over 300K stories, much of which was tied to the baby formula shortage in the U.S. #4 Smartphone (up 3%) and #5 Blockchain (down 5%) held steady in the rankings, as did #6 Ecommerce (up 3%). Of the others, Artificial Intelligence moved up from #9 to #7 despite a 2% drop in volume (Google discussion about sentience), while Cybersecurity climbed two spots to #8 on just a 2% increase (RSA Conference). Drones fell one spot to #9 (down 9%), while Wi-Fi reentered the top 10 (from #11 to #10) thanks in part to a 4% gain.
What’s Climbing: AI Ethics surged in June, registering the most pronounced mention gain (up over 400%) and climbing 61 spots in the rankings (from 174 to 113). This jump was linked to discussion around whether Google’s AI system LaMDA had achieved sentience (Google fired the engineer who claimed it did). The other standout, and unintentionally related, discussion showing sizable gains was Layoffs, which was up 75% from May (climbing from #32 to #17 in the rankings) as discussions highlighted hiring issues amid the looming recession.
Most other topics showing sizable gains ranked between #150 and #210, which means they are lower volume and more likely to show dramatic swings. This included:
- #199 Thermal Monitoring – up 138%
- #209 Event-Driven Applications – up 104%
- #176 Growth Hacking – up 98%
- #210 Adversary Detection – up 92%
- #166 Surveillance Capitalism – up 90%
- #205 Voice Interface – up 73%
- #206 Humane Technology – up 67%
One interesting trend to call out here: Several of the topics linked to Social Commerce (which itself ranked #127 and showed a 51% gain) showed growth, including Growth Hacking, Surveillance Capitalism and Humane Technology, all of which can also be tied back to AI Ethics through algorithmic emergence practices.
What’s Falling: There were slightly more losses than gains in June, with 112 of 213 topics losing ground. However, the average loss – 15.8% – was less than the average gain (27%). While the bulk of the more substantial losses were in lower-ranking topics, there were three standouts: #30 Venture Capital (down 67%, and falling from #7 in the rankings), #29 Disinformation (down 47% after ranking #15 in May), and #32 Robotics (down 31%, from #25). Other loss-leaders included:
- #193 Enterprise Video – down 86%
- #208 Serverless Platform – down 55%
- #213 Threat Telemetry – down 55%
- #211 Utility Computing – down 49%
- #173 B2B Payments – down 47%
- #203 Serverless Tech – down 45%
- #184 IT Service Management – down 45%
Of note here, Serverless as an overall category increased in mentions by 1%, but both sub-areas Serverless Platform and Serverless Technology showed declines suggesting the more general discussion is more appealing to the media.
So What/Now What: Looking back on the first half of 2022, a lot happened in Q1 that impacted discussions, not the least of which was the Ukrainian incursion and supply chain issues. We saw big spikes in February and March, followed by a downtrend as the dust settled. Q2 story volume overall was down from Q1, but this was heavily tied to an April reset. For instance, Cybersecurity was WAY up in Q1 tied to opportunistic bad actors, but coverage declined in April. Security topics in general regained momentum into June tied in part to the RSA security conference. But as the world shifts focus, conversations roll with it. What will be hot in July? We will circle back next month and let you know.
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.