Inaugural spikes

A team of editors in Yahoo! Search is in the very enviable position of being able to peer deeply into the minds of the collective Yahoo! populace at any given moment -- watching anonymized keywords that spike as people search for news and information related to current events.

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at what our users were most curious about today as they watched the swearing in of our 44th president:

  • Oath of office - people were keen to read about "john roberts flub" as the Chief Justice stumbled slightly on the oath
  • Aretha Franklin - that hat was on everyone's mind; there were also questions about how old she is, along with confusion about her name ("anita franklin")
  • Joseph Lowery - people were buzzing about the Reverend and his funky benediction
  • Dick Cheney wheelchair - why exactly was he in a wheelchair?
  • Obama speech - because hearing it once was evidently not enough
  • Inaugural lunch menu - great curiosity about what was being served to the President on this historic day
  • Abraham Lincoln - searches about his bible as well as quotes that might have been invoked today
  • How old is Obama - shouldn't it be how "young" is Obama?
  • Readings/music - there were spikes on particular pieces and lyrics, including misheard phrases ("air and simple gifts" and the misheard "heir and simple gifts")
  • Bush daughters' letter to Obama daughters - interest in the advice between First Daughters
  • Activities/lesson plans - parents and teachers searched for all sorts of things for kids, like coloring pages, lesson plans, activities, word searches
  • Live coverage - an unprecedented global audience sought the experience live online
  • Obama's limo - there was great interest in this James Bondian machine.
  • Tuskegee Airmen - people sought background on this group of World War II pilots who broke the color barrier in military aviation
  • Michelle Obama dress - as usual, fashionistas wanted all the skinny on who designed Michelle's dress (it was Isabel Toledo)

And if you get a chance, check out the Flickr Inauguration 2009 pool, which now boasts more than 4,000 images from the inaugural festivities.

Nicki Dugan
Blog Editor

Photo from erin m