Facebook Users Switched On Their Reading Lamps in October

Comics and historical fiction were among Topics to Watch for the month

Facebook users sought to keep the noise down in October, as active noise control was one of research arm Facebook IQ’s Topics to Watch for the month.

Conversation about active noise control—and associated topics Best Buy, Bluetooth, cell phone, headphones, Lightning (connector), microphone, noise (electronics), noise-canceling headphones, tablet computer and wireless—shot up 8.2 times compared with October 2018 and five times versus September, driven largely by men 18 through 49.

Facebook IQ wrote, “A form of noise cancellation technology and a common feature of high-end headphones, active noise control blocks unwanted noise by producing frequencies that cancel out external sound. Most noise-canceling headphones utilize both active noise control and passive noise control, which refers to insulation that physically blocks out sound. Noise-canceling headphones have traditionally been over-the-ear—a design that is appealing to some but cumbersome to others. New in-ear options are arriving to the market, exclusively using active noise control to remove unwanted sound. As people look to immerse themselves in the media they’re listening to and tune out the outside world, they’re increasingly gravitating toward headphones that feature active noise control technology.”

Facebook IQ

Facebook IQ

Facebook users 49 and younger turned to the funny pages last month, driving conversation about comics up 5.3 times year-over-year and 0.8 times month-over month.

Associated topics included anime, art, books, collectible, cosplay, fantasy, funny, game, geek and manga.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “In recent years, comic-inspired movies have become box-office hits, expanding access and interest in these visual stories. Comic books have traditionally been published on a monthly cadence, requiring people to wait for new issues to learn what happens next. Now, readers are gravitating toward graphic novels, which can be read in one sitting. And new graphic novels are even offering visual versions of popular and classic literary works. Audiences are increasingly inclined toward visual storytelling and, while comics have been delivering this for decades, the way people consume them is evolving to fit their binging mentality.”

Facebook IQ

Facebook IQ

Speaking of reading, conversation about historical fiction edged up 1.7 times compared with October 2018 and 0.9 times month-over-month.

Women 35 and older were responsible for the bulk of the movement, and associated topics included ancient Egypt, audiobook, fantasy, French Resistance, hardcover, mystery fiction, Philippa Gregory, Publishers Weekly, science fiction and suspense.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Historical fiction has been booming, as people recognize how stories about the past can relate to the present and future. While these tales are imagined, many of them link back to real events, like wars, political crises and cultural movements. Recent releases have returned to World War II and imagined how groups typically underrepresented in historical accounts experienced this conflict. People are increasingly interested in looking back in time, and historical fiction gives them a taste of the past, an insight into the present and an idea for the future.”

Facebook IQ

Facebook IQ

Women 50 and older put down the books and picked up the needles, causing lace knitting—and associated topics cardigan, cotton, knitting, knitting pattern, shawl, sock, spandex, stitch (textile arts), sweater design and yarn—to rise 4.9 times year-over-year and 0.8 times compared with September.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “The latest hobby craze to hit the U.S. is a classic one: lace knitting. This traditional craft is finding new participants, as people discover that it’s a great way to de-stress. People increasingly see lace knitting as a mindfulness exercise and a way to get off their phones and engage in something tactile. They’re finding knitting patterns for beginners, as well as online communities around knitting on social media. And more knitting circles are sprouting across the nation, bringing younger crowds to the activity and providing new opportunities for social connection.”

Facebook IQ

Facebook IQ

Knitting is thirsty work, and women 35 and older propelled conversation about limoncello and associated topics butter, cake, dinner Italy, lemon, milk, raspberry, ricotta, sugar and tiramisu in October.

Discussion was up 5.3 times versus October 2018 and 1.5 times compared with September.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Limoncello is best known as a lemon liqueur consumed after Italian meals, as it’s said to help with digestion. Recently, in the U.S., people have been viewing this drink as more than an after-dinner delight. Recipes for limoncello-infused tiramisu and cakes are trending on social media. And people are even making their own limoncello at home, referencing traditional recipes to get a more authentic taste. Limoncello is the latest traditional food to experience a revival and reinterpretation, as people expand their usage of the drink.”

Facebook IQ

Facebook IQ

Finally, conversation about medicinal plants soared 16.3 times in October versus the same month last year and 0.8 times month-over-month.

Women 35 and older spurred most of the gains, and associated topics included agriculture, alternative medicine, disease, fungus, herbs, leaf, medicine, pharmaceutical drug, plants and portulaca oleracea.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “Alternative medicine has been expanding over recent years, and medicinal plants are at the root of many of these natural treatments. Medicinal plant-based supplements have become readily available across pharmacies and health food stores, allowing people to purchase powerhouse plants like turmeric and echinacea in capsule form. Some are even growing medicinal plants in their gardens, making it easier to access them. People are increasingly interested in using natural products across their lives, and medicinal plants give those interested in alternative medicines a more natural way to treat ailments.”

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.