Facebook Users Didn’t Squash Conversations About Chayote in January

The social network’s research arm revealed its Topics to Watch for the month

Conversation about chayote was up 2.5 times compared with January 2018
Bruno Guimarães/iStock

Facebook users were hungry for chayote in January, as the squash—along with associated topics gourd, kidney, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, onion, soup, food, rice, chicken and life—was one of Facebook IQ’s Topics to Watch for the month.

Conversation about chayote was up 2.5 times compared with January 2018 and 1.2 times versus December 2018, driven by people over 35, mostly women.

Facebook IQ wrote, “A crisp, mildly sweet squash that hails from Central America, chayote is growing in popularity across the U.S. Used in everything from stew to salad, it’s praised for its versatility, as well as its health properties. Chayote is low in calories and carbohydrates, as well as chock-full of antioxidants, vitamins B and C and potassium. It’s also known to be beneficial to people trying to regulate their cholesterol or blood sugar. As people try new diets and embrace healthy living, foods with high nutritional value are making their way into recipes—and restaurants—across the country.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

People on the social network also got their licks in last month, driving conversation about guitar battle and associated topics Crossroads, Ralph Macchio, Arlen Roth, Steve Vai, Ry Cooder, Slash, Zakk Wylde, blues, guitar and love up 3.5 times year-over-year and doubling month-over-month. Men of all ages dominated the talk.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “Guitar battles often involve two musicians playing solos one after the other, ultimately competing for a crowd’s approval. Guitar players typically start with short, simple phrases and licks, building to more complex sections that ultimately test their skill and endurance as they try to top one another. While these battles are less common among today’s rock musicians, the iconic battles of prior decades still hold significance for people. People are sharing videos of these retro performances on social media, highlighting musicianship at its finest.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Conversation about hydroelectricity—as well as associated topics energy industry, wind power, nuclear power, solar energy, greenhouse gas, natural gas, whirlpool, coal, China and U.S.—rose two times versus last January and 0.6 times month-over-month, with men 50 and up leading the way.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Hydroelectricity is a form of energy that leverages the power of water. It’s generally considered a low-cost, renewable energy solution. In hydroelectric power plants, water flows into a turbine that generates electricity. In light of environmental concerns, people seem to have a growing interest in climate science, looking to understand the pros and cons of various renewable energy systems and possibilities for these systems in the future.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Never mind heavy metal: Facebook users were into light metal in January, specifically titanium. The metal and associated topics jewelry, brass, epoxy, stainless steel, quartz, ceramic, copper, metal, aluminum and steel saw conversation volume go up 1.1 times both year-over-year and month-over-month, paced mostly by men 18 through 49.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “An increasingly common metal for jewelry, titanium is praised for being light, strong, resistant to water and hypoallergenic. It’s even discussed in the context of alternative medicine, as some believe that wearing titanium jewelry can reduce pain and inflammation, even promote healing in the body. Now, titanium may have a contender, as scientists have created a new material called metallic wood that is five times lighter than titanium but has the same level of strength. Metallic wood may become commonplace in the future, but for now, people are still turning to titanium for their wedding bands and bracelets.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Can’t sleep? Neither could a lot of Facebook users in January. Conversation about wakefulness and associated topics sleeping, consciousness, insomnia, fatigue, morning, brain and time soared 4.6 times versus January 2018 and moved up 0.8 times compared with December 2018, paced by women 18 through 49.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Insomnia seems to be on the rise. And people are talking about it and wakefulness, or the hours of the day when they’re conscious and awake, and looking for solutions. Research has long affirmed that sleep plays a significant role in mental and physical functioning. And as people look to maximize their productivity at work and in life, they seem to be exploring new ways of promoting healthy sleep. Whether switching out their lightbulbs for options that emit less blue light, dimming their phone screens past a certain hour or even practicing meditation, people are trying to be more mindful of when and how they sleep and the effects this has on their wakefulness.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Finally, who doesn’t love a festival? Women 50 and older sparked year-over-year growth of two times and a 5.1 times month-over-month leap in conversation about winter festival and associated topics snowshoeing, gaiters, neoprene, Saranac Lake (N.Y.), Lake George (N.Y.), ice palace, drawstring and gratitude.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “Local communities have been holding winter festivals for decades, bringing people together to share in traditional winter-centric activities like ice carving, skating, ice hockey and even dog sledding. These festivals may be growing in popularity, as local organizations spread the word on their events on social media and people discuss trips to new towns and cities to enjoy the wonders of winter. Even as people’s lives become busier, many still seem to seek the comforts of community, and social media is helping people discover new activities and long-established events happening all around them.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

We learned these things from Facebook IQ’s latest data chart called Topics to Watch, which is designed to help marketers know what subjects to look out for on the social network. The topics are based on trending data, and Adweek readers get an exclusive look at them each month.