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What People Gave Up For Lent 2012 (According to Twitter)

Chocolate and social media once more top the list. And folks seem to have given up giving up Bieber.

Editor's note: For the past four years, Stephen Smith has used Twitter's API to take a snapshot of what people say they are giving up for Lent. Each year, the list is a mix of the sincere and the sarcastic, the earnest and the anti-religious. But each year, it results in a fascinating look at American spirituality–especially with the recurrent themes of people tweeting how they plan to give up social networking for the 40 day season of fasting.

This year, Twitter continues to take top honors. Facebook drops a few places compared to last year–has it become less central to people's lives? This year's hot new site, Pinterest, almost makes the list, showing up at #118. (Incidentally, Pinterest has a number of Lent-related boards.)

Chocolate comes in at #2–however, if you add up all the mentions of chocolate in its various forms ("chocs," "chocolate chips," etc.), it totals over 14,000 mentions, enough to put it at #1.

This year's biggest gainers are "breathing" and "makeup," both of which jumped up more than 30 places in the list.

No celebrities make the top 100 this year. Boy band One Direction (aka #1D) is at #144, followed by Justin Bieber at #194 and Tim Tebow at #221. Last year's curiosity, Charlie Sheen, only got two mentions; he dropped to #10,000 or so.

Overall, food was by far the most popular thing given up.

This list draws from about 300,000 tweets from February 19-25, 2012, and excludes retweets.

RankWordCountChange from last year's rank
1. Twitter 13,937 0
2. Chocolate 13,001 +1
3. Swearing 11,737 +1
4. Alcohol 9,998 +1
5. Soda 9,942 +2
6. Facebook 9,025 -4
7. Fast food 6,529 +3
8. Sex 6,146 -2
9. Sweets 4,973 +2
10. Meat 4,444 -1
11. Lent 4,171 -3
12. School 3,976 +1
13. Junk food 3,388 +6
14. Chips 3,150 +4
15. Coffee 2,263 0
16. Candy 2,217 +6
17. Bread 2,124 +3
18. You 2,056 -2
19. Smoking 2,002 +2
20. Giving up things 2,001 -8
21. Homework 1,908 +11
22. Food 1,800 +5
23. Social networking 1,754 -6
24. Religion 1,701 -10
25. Marijuana 1,594 +4
26. Beer 1,359 +4
27. Work 1,331 -3
28. Stuff 1,302 -3
29. McDonald's 1,249 +21
30. Virginity 1,152 +7
31. Cookies 1,137 +3
32. Masturbation 1,134 +4
33. Ice cream 1,113 +15
34. Shopping 1,068 -6
35. Fried food 993 -4
36. Boys 956 +6
37. Sobriety 910 +7
38. Coke 899 +3
39. Catholicism 881 -13
40. Cheese 858 -7
41. Nothing 831 +5
42. Carbs 818 +16
43. Red meat 758 -8
44. Procrastination 738 +1
45. Desserts 733 +26
46. Pizza 714 +15
47. Pancakes 650 -9
48. Sugar 645 -5
49. Rice 633 -10
50. Breathing 631 +34
51. Me 628 +12
52. Texting 627 +3
53. Starbucks 623 +1
54. Fizzy drinks 595 +12
55. French fries 593 +7
56. Diet Coke 572 +21
57. Porn 562 +10
58. Tumblr 548 +12
59. Wine 546 -7
60. Makeup 539 +31
61. Liquor 534 -5
62. Booze 530 -22
63. College 524 +18
64. My phone 508 +30
65. Life 486  
66. Caffeine 466 -17
67. Laziness 453 +11
68. Chipotle 452 +30
69. Tea 445 +6
70. Chicken 442 +2
71. Cake 440 +3
72. Sarcasm 429 +4
73. New Year's resolutions 422 +15
74. Takeout 417 +11
75. Men 412 -10
76. Pork 394 -3
77. Christianity 388 -18
78. Sleep 386 +1
79. People 384 +8
80. Caring 377  
81. Juice 357 +11
82. Snacking 345  
83. Lying 333  
84. TV 332 -31
85. Complaining 331 -2
86. Church 328 -35
87. Him 327 +2
88. Sweet tea 326  
89. Lint 326 -21
90. Vegetables 324  
91. Talking 323  
92. Bacon 321  
93. Being mean 320  
94. Pasta 316  
95. Eating out 316 +5
96. Negativity 314 -39
97. Eating 298  
98. Biting my nails 294  
99. Nutella 291  
100. Being nice 258  

Categories

RankCategoryNumber of Tweets
1. food 79,977
2. habits 21,836
3. technology 19,190
4. smoking/drugs/alcohol 19,073
5. health/hygiene 11,101
6. sex 9,948
7. irony 9,352
8. school/work 8,567
9. relationship 6,919
10. religion 4,157
11. generic 2,841
12. shopping 1,491
13. entertainment 1,344
14. money 526
15. sports 512
16. celebrity 461
17. possessions 376
18. clothes 111
19. politics 105

The image is a Wordle.

This article first appeared at Stephen Smith's OpenBible.info. Used with permission.

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Related Topics:Faith and Practice
Posted:February 27, 2012 at 3:45PM
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What People Gave Up For Lent 2012 (According to Twitter)