Social media

5 things Americans loved sharing on Facebook in 2013

Dec. 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM ET

While Americans were busy "Liking" each other's pet photos, Facebook was working behind the scenes, counting and ranking how many times users mentioned the year's most prominent people, places and events. 

Today, Facebook officially unveiled its 2013 Year in Review. Besides a personalized list of your 20 biggest moments, it also includes all of the pivotal moments and notable personalities that filled up people's News Feeds. So, what was so important that Americans had to write a status update about it?

Yes, Americans are ready for some football 
In 2012, the country was abuzz with partisan fervor. The most-talked-about event on Facebook? The presidential election. The most-buzzworthy people? President Barack Obama and former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (One Direction, the absurdly coiffed British boy-band, came in third).

This year, Americans left politics behind and focused on what really matters: the NFL. Everyone was talking about the Super Bowl, officially Facebook's "most-buzzed-about" event of 2013. And while Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning didn't win a ring, he did win a spot as Facebook's most-mentioned person of the year.

"Sporting events do get a lot of engagement on Facebook," Robert D'Onofrio, data editor for Facebook, told NBC News. "During the first week of the NFL, 30 million people generated over 60 million interactions on Facebook."

Miley Cyrus and Beyonce might be tops on search engines like Yahoo and Bing, but on Facebook, it turns out that jocks rule.

May is for lovers
April showers bring May flowers and, apparently, plenty of romance. Facebook tracked which "major life events" people shared most in 2012 and what month they shared them in. The winners? "Adding a relationship" and "getting married," both of which happened most often in May.

Americans still love Mickey
Disneyland first opened in Anaheim, Calif., in 1955. Today, it's just as popular as it ever was — at least on Facebook. It was officially the social network's most-checked-in location, beating out Times Square in New York City.

In third place: Another Disney attraction, Epcot Center in Orlando. 

Superheroes don't always rule
The top-grossing films for 2013: "Iron Man 3," "Despicable Me 2" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," according to Box Office Mojo. The most-talked-about movie on Facebook? Horror flick "The Conjuring," which got a stellar score on Rotten Tomatoes (87 percent) but was 16th overall at the box office.

Why couldn't Tony Stark beat a bunch of ghosts on Facebook? 

"We often see movies and TV shows with devoted fans bases, regardless of size, generating lots of Facebook engagement and this was clearly no exception," said D'Onofrio.

People love to complain about the government
Despite the lack of a presidential election, 2013 had no shortage of political drama, which reached critical mass during the 16-day partial government shutdown that crippled Washington in October. 

Not surprisingly, the government shutdown was Facebook's most-buzzed-about event in politics, and the second most-discussed event overall. Could it take the top spot in 2014? Possibly. This could all happen again when funding for the government runs out on Jan. 15.

Here is what else Facebook users were talking about in 2013:

1. Super Bowl
2. Government shutdown
3. Boston Marathon
4. Syria crisis
5. Harlem Shake
6. Pope Francis
7. George Zimmerman
8. Royal baby
9. Nelson Mandela
10. Presidential inauguration

Keith Wagstaff writes about technology for NBC News. He previously covered technology for TIME's Techland and wrote about politics as a staff writer at TheWeek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kwagstaff and reach him by email at: Keith.Wagstaff@nbcuni.com

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