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What To Give Up for Lent 2014? Twitter Reveals Top 100 Choices

(UPDATED) Barna breaks down which Americans are celebrating this year, while Stephen Smith tracks what 100,000+ Twitter users are pledging in real-time.
What To Give Up for Lent 2014? Twitter Reveals Top 100 Choices
What Twitter users are giving up for Lent in 2014.

[Updated with Ash Wednesday results and new Barna Group survey]

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. If you haven't yet decided what to forego, consider what 116,000 tweets (and counting) suggest others are giving up in 2014.

So far, food and technology are top categories. The current leaders out of the top 100 choices (full list below): Chocolate, Twitter, school, alcohol, and swearing.

Lenten tweets 2014

Lenten tweets 2014

These five regularly top the lists of most frequently sacrificed personal vices. But the trendiest thing to forego last year? "Being pope."

If you do give up something for Lent this year, you will join 17 percent of U.S. adults, according to a new survey by Barna Group. While many practicing Catholics (63 percent) are planning to fast, only 16 percent of practicing Protestants have similar plans. People born in 1945 or earlier are most likely to fast (26 percent), and people born between 1946 and 1964 are least likely (10 percent). About 20 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 say they will fast.

Launching this year's count on Monday, Stephen Smith of OpenBible.info wrote:

With about 5,000 tweets analyzed, the new hot topics so far this year are: "Netflix," "Flappy Bird," and "Getting an Oscar." "Social Networking" is currently way out in front, with twice as many tweets as perennial favorites "Swearing" and "Alcohol." (Last year, Social Networking came in at #4.)

Smith uses Twitter's API to analyze each year what people say they plan to give up for Lent. In 2013, he crunched 263,000 tweets. Here's what he found:

Lenten tweets 2013Image: Stephen Smith - OpenBible.info

Lenten tweets 2013

CT assessed the final 2013 results (whatever happened to giving up chocolate?) and noted the Top 100 vices that Twitter users gave up (or claimed to) in 2013, 2012, and 2011. In addition, CT's Mark Galli has offered his thoughts on "giving up self discipline" for Lent.

Twitter users giving up technology join 48 percent of practicing Protestants in the endeavor, according to Barna. People plan to fast from social networks (16 percent), smartphones (13 percent), television (11 percent), video games (10 percent), and the Internet (9 percent).

Among all Lent fasters—including those not on Twitter—food is still the most popular thing to sacrifice. Ninety-six percent of fasting Protestants and 89 percent of fasting Catholics are giving up some food item. The overall breakdown includes chocolate (30 percent), meat (28 percent), soda (26 percent) and alcohol (24 percent).

CT regularly reports on Lent, including three views on why bother celebrating Lent, what neuroscience tells us about Lent, Lent in Narnia, and the argument for lengthening Lent.

Here is Stephen Smith of OpenBible.info's running list of the top 100 most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (both serious and cynical) in 2014 (as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday), followed by top categories:

Rank What Number of Tweets
1. chocolate 5,477
2. twitter 4,999
3. school 3,754
4. alcohol 3,116
5. swearing 2,833
6. social networking 2,726
7. soda 2,213
8. sweets 2,030
9. fast food 1,782
10. junk food 1,306
11. coffee 1,276
12. meat 1,246
13. lent 1,229
14. chips 1,227
15. homework 1,120
16. bread 1,050
17. sex 1,026
18. facebook 982
19. you 775
20. pizza 696
21. starbucks 650
22. giving up things 624
23. candy 583
24. instagram 547
25. food 546
26. work 543
27. cookies 542
28. college 505
29. smoking 493
30. religion 473
31. mcdonalds 430
32. ice cream 427
33. boys 420
34. marijuana 416
35. stuff 405
36. virginity 402
37. netflix 402
38. life 383
39. cheese 371
40. carbs 366
41. beer 354
42. sugar 346
43. my phone 342
44. chipotle 341
45. takeout 332
46. wine 323
47. fizzy drinks 318
48. pancakes 292
49. winter 289
50. shopping 276
51. caffeine 262
52. masturbation 258
53. people 257
54. snapchat 257
55. selfies 256
56. fried food 252
57. snow 246
58. coke 245
59. catholicism 242
60. me 226
61. nothing 218
62. procrastination 216
63. rice 213
64. makeup 211
65. diet coke 208
66. tea 208
67. french fries 204
68. sobriety 190
69. taco bell 189
70. desserts 189
71. cake 186
72. complaining 181
73. sarcasm 180
74. peanut butter 179
75. negativity 172
76. feelings 169
77. red meat 161
78. breathing 156
79. swag 155
80. booze 154
81. porn 151
82. sweet tea 146
83. texting 142
84. pasta 140
85. eating out 136
86. sleep 135
87. tv 134
88. the gym 119
89. hope 119
90. gluten 118
91. nutella 117
92. exercise 117
93. onedirection 116
94. caring 115
95. vegetables 107
96. studying 106
97. dairy 104
98. laziness 103
99. chicken 101
100. tumblr 99

Top categories:

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 30,565
2. technology 9,764
3. school/work 6,744
4. habits 6,689
5. smoking/drugs/alcohol 5,737
6. irony 3,176
7. relationship 2,715
8. sex 2,152
9. health/hygiene 1,651
10. generic 1,208
11. religion 1,149
12. entertainment 929
13. weather 609
14. shopping 466
15. sports 205
16. money 193
17. celebrity 175
18. clothes 171
19. habit 155
20. possessions 93
21. politics 83
Related Topics:Lent; Twitter
Posted:March 4, 2014 at 10:04AM
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What To Give Up for Lent 2014? Twitter Reveals Top 100 Choices