Rebecca Black's "Friday" video has been dominating the pop-culture conversation over the past week, having drawn over 40 million views in roughly 10 days and inspiring hundreds of parodies and covers. But March has been a month of some major global and national trends, so we looked into the data to discover which were the largest.
Three big events drew lots of search interest in the United States this month. The top three rising U.S. searches on YouTube of the last 30 days were for Charlie Sheen, the Japanese tsunami, and Ms. Black. Below we've graphed relative searches for "friday," "sheen," and "japan" for the past month or so in the United States. And we've added "oscars" as a point of comparison.
The spike that we saw around the earthquake and tsunami in Japan was the highest overall of the group, though "Friday" also saw a huge spike last week. "Sheen" did not spike as high, but ballooned over a longer stretch. "Oscars," which is a pretty major event, is somewhat dwarfed by the others.
When you open up the searches to include international (but English-language) terms, the disparity between "japan" and "friday" spikes is greater.
Even if it was a mostly American phenomenon, just how big is/was the Rebecca Black craze?
As far as pop-stars go, "Friday" has drawn more views since March 11 -- the day the video first took off -- than all of Lady Gaga's videos combined over the same time period. While she didn't top Justin Bieber during that time-frame, she was close. And she did draw more views than Rihanna and Eminem, both of whom recently joined the one billion view club.