New Years Revelations: 2014 Insights from Twitter Data

Resolutions are a wonderful yearly tradition. The ability for a fresh start, a new beginning. This is the year that you’ll lose ten pounds - and you really mean it this time.  And of course, it’s yet another year to announce your intentions to your social networks while you’re watching the ball drop.

Social media data gives us the opportunity to analyze these promises in aggregate, and watch for trends and patterns that help us understand our aspirations each year. Are we, as a collective, looking to hit the gym this year? Stop drinking so damn much? Finally find that perfect someone to spend our time with? For this year’s study, we dove into Twitter data to uncover insights for the year ahead. So put on your running shoes, toss that pack of cigarettes in the trash, and dive in the data with Mass Relevance.


Data was analyzed as % of Twitter active users in each year posting resolution-related content

We looked at resolution-related Twitter chatter from Dec 25 - Jan 1 during the past three years, and saw some clear patterns emerge:


Resolutions are becoming more social.

More Twitter users Tweeted about resolutions this year than the past two years. This indicates the growing importance of social media in our lives, and our willingness to share openly on social networks. We’re becoming less reserved in our social posts, exposing more of our “true selves” through our online presences.


We aspire to be healthier versions of ourselves.

Not surprisingly, the majority of social New Years resolutions have to do with health-related topics. For the past three New Year’s Days, we have seen more resolutions about weight loss than any other topic. Exercise takes second place. Clearly our fitness-crazed culture would like to be a little bit lighter and a lot healthier in 2014.


Forget quitting smoking, we’d rather just “be happy”.

Interestingly, over the past three years, resolutions to be more positive and “be happy” have steadily increased. A positive mindset now replaces smoking cessation as the third largest category for resolutions.


Good news for Amazon: we’re embracing our inner bookworm.

We’re not just focused on improving our physical fitness - we also want to boost our mental fitness in 2014. Resolutions to “read more” made the largest year-over-year percentage increase, jumping 56% this year.


Real-Time Marketers take note.

We uncovered time-based patterns in the Twitter conversations as well. First, resolutions are made in real-time. For the past two years, more resolutions were proclaimed on both New Years Eve and New Years Day than the entire week leading up to the big event. Second, there’s a shift in conversation patterns between New Year’s Eve and January 1st. This year, on New Year’s Eve we saw more resolution-related Tweets about losing weight, drinking more (shocking), and reading more (actually shocking.) The next morning, after popping a few Advil, people concentrated more on resolutions around exercise, general health and being positive.


Finally, there were a few other surprising trends that popped in the data:

  • Is the marathon craze ending? Resolutions to run a marathon have declined for the past two years, and were down by 16% this year. Perhaps we’re looking for more diversity in our fitness routines, capitalizing on trends like Crossfit, HIIT and Soul Cycle.

  • Gentlemen, start your engines. The market is hot for potential boyfriends. There were 2.5X more resolutions to “find a boyfriend” than resolutions to “find a girlfriend” this year. In fact, more people announced their resolution to find a new relationship than resolved to give up sugar or fast food.

  • Cheers to 2014. Resolving to “drink less” alcohol narrowly beat out people resolving to “drink more” alcohol. So maybe there’s hope for us after all.


Regardless of your resolutions for the New Year, it’s safe to say that social media will play an increasingly important role in how we communicate with friends, family and our favorite brands. At Mass Relevance, we are passionate about helping our clients capitalize on the power of social media as the connective tissue that binds us together. If you’re interested in getting social in 2014, check out our work and resolve to partner with the Mass Relevance team.


Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s make 2014 one to remember. And if you are one of the Tweeters resigned to “drink more” this year… just remember that SXSW is only sixty-four short days away.


Chris Kerns's picture

Chris Kerns

Chris Kerns has spent more than a decade defining digital strategy and is at the forefront of finding insights from digital data. He currently leads Analytics and Research at Spredfast. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today and AdWeek, among other publications.