Teens Don’t Know Who Osama Bin Laden Is, According to Yahoo! Search Trends

Teens Don’t Know Who Osama Bin Laden Is, According to Yahoo! Search Trends

Searches for Osama Bin Laden Spike Nearly 100,000%

Searches on Sunday for Osama bin Laden spiked nearly 100,000% on Yahoo!, also making him the most-searched person of the day. Nearly 1 in 5 searches for “osama bin laden” are by teenagers, many of who grew up during the war on terrorism. 25% of searches overall for Osama came from those under 24.

Every single state in the nation showed heightened search volume on Yahoo! for “osama bin laden,” led by North Dakota, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Behind the man. Besides searches for confirmation of his death, we saw searches spike off the charts for Osama bin Laden’s biography, age, height, wife, and children. Searches on Yahoo! for “is it Usama or Osama?” also spiked off the charts. Yesterday’s events also caused a surge of questions around the declared No. 1 terrorist mastermind.

According to Yahoo!, The Top Searched Questions on Osama bin Laden are (based on Sunday, 5/1):

  1. Is Osama bin Laden dead?
  2. How did Osama bin Laden die?
  3. Who killed Osama bin Laden?
  4. How old is Osama bin Laden
  5. Who is Osama bin Laden
  6. Where was Osama bin Laden killed?
  7. Is Osama bin Laden dead or alive?
  8. How tall is Osama bin Laden?

Younger Generation. News of Osama bin Laden’s death seemed to have struck a chord with younger folks who grew up during the war on terrorism.

-          On Yahoo!, 1 in 3 searches for “how did osama bin laden die” on Sunday were from teens ages 13-17.

-          According to Yahoo!, 40% of searches on Sunday for “who killed osama bin laden” were from people ages 13-20.

-          However, it seems teens ages 13-17 were seeking more information as they made up 66% of searches for “who is osama bin laden?”

President Obama. In addition to searches for President Obama’s speech and address, there is interest on Yahoo! in how these events will affect his approval rating. Searches on Sunday for his approval rating spiked 119% on Yahoo!.

-          The former President was not forgotten. A few looked up “George W. Bush” (466% fewer searches than for “barack obama”) and even the phrase “bush mission accomplished.”

Locations. People are very curious for details about Pakistan. Searches on Sunday for “Pakistan map” spiked 2,594% and searches for “Pakistan news” spiked 610% on Yahoo!.

-          Searches on Yahoo! spiked off the charts for “Islamabad” (the capital of Pakistan), Abbottadbad

-          Specific searches spiked on Yahoo! for “osama bin laden compound,” “osama bin laden mansion” and “osama bin laden hideout.”

Revisiting 9/11 and Patriotism. Searches for “September 11th” spiked 1,009% on Sunday. Searches also spiked for patriotic landmarks and symbols such as the “US Flag” which was up 717% on Yahoo! and searches for the “Star Spangled Banner lyrics” which spiked 222%, mostly by females who made up 64% of searches.

-          Exactly one in two searches for “US flag” on Yahoo! today are by adults ages 35-54.

-          Searches on Yahoo! for “Patriotic songs” are spiking off the charts today.

-          Searches have also spiked for Ground Zero, the Twin Towers, and the World Trade Center.

-          Searches on Yahoo! also spiked off the charts for the 9/11 death toll and memorials.

Conspiracy Theories. News of Osama bin Laden’s death seems to have caused a spiked for conspiracy theories (up 114% Sunday on Yahoo!) as well as a resurgence of searches for “9/11 conspiracy theories.” Searches for “conspiracy theories” are split evenly amongst males and females, but 35% or 1 in 3 searches for the term are by teenagers ages 13-17.

 

*Off the charts refers to searches that received little to no searches the week/month before and are now gaining interest

What is Yahoo! Search Data?

People power: We sift through billions of Yahoo! searches to uncover trends, burning questions, popular personalities and hot ideas. Yahoo! has been extremely successful in sifting through searches for trend-spotting, historical insight, forecasting projections, and big-picture analysis.

Follow us on Twitter: @yahoosearchdata

Media Contact: Want analysis reach out to us: Carolyn Clark carolync@yahoo-inc.com

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What exactly is a search and why are they useful?:  A keyword(s) or term(s) that people enter in the Search box.
  • How do you determine meaning from a search? Searches at its face are neutral. Motivation and intent cannot be defined, but analyzing a billion (or so) searches can give a sketch portrait of a culture in motion. Search insight can operate like an instant poll into what people’s interests are at a given moment—and unlike a poll which offers a constrained or directed parameters, searches spring spontaneously from people want to know.
    • What does spiking and off the charts mean? A “spiking” search refers to terms with the greatest percentage increase in searches from one period of time to the next (usually day, week or month). Significant increases don’t necessarily mean a huge overall interest in a subject, but reveals an accelerated interest in popularity. Something that’s “off the chart” refers to a term that had no meaningful number of searches in the previous time period.
    • How are rankings determined? Rankings, unless otherwise noted, are based on the total number of searches.
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30 Comments

Comment by ourscompany
2011-05-03 00:02:15

Really interesting information. I was thinking that Osama is too popular and everyone know about this information. This statistics is really an eye opener. Thanks for sharing the information.

- Sandy

 
Comment by Aaron
2011-05-03 06:49:00

” A few looked up ‘George W. Bush’ (466% fewer searches than for ‘barack obama’)”

How can there be 466% FEWER searches for “George W. Bush?” If there had been 100 searches for “barack obama,” 466% fewer searches would be negative 366 searches.

 
Comment by tony
2011-05-03 07:20:57

What is 100,00% in ordinary numbers?

 
Comment by Roshan
2011-05-03 08:05:07

what’s so surprising? its like old people who don’t know new technology.

 
Comment by Matt
2011-05-03 10:09:45

Although it’s kind of sad that so many young people don’t know who he is or why we care… I guess it’s a good thing that they are curious enough to find out.

 
Comment by ss4
2011-05-03 11:42:31

Question: How exactly were the ages of the users determined? It’s somewhat hard to tell just from the IP addresses and search content.

 
Comment by Bryon Brock
2011-05-03 12:55:55

Did the author pull out their jump to conclusions mat before writing this article? Nowhere do I see any statistics to support the statement of teens not knowing who Osama is. Why isn’t “Who is Osama?” one of these terms? Because these teenagers already know exactly who he is and all these statistics do is support the fact that they were looking for specifics of his death.

Why does the author assume the audience is ignorant? I assume it must be because they used Yahoo instead of Google. Using Yahoo clearly demonstrates they are ignorant of Google’s superior search results ;)

 
Comment by Bitsko
2011-05-03 12:56:43

If anything, this shows how widespread the use of cookies is by companies like Yahoo. How else would they know how old the searchers are? I wonder if Yahoo sees the irony?

 
2011-05-03 16:04:27

It has to do with the inverse law of proportions which says that statistics posted on the internet should be accepted, not questioned.

 
Comment by Jay
2011-05-03 17:18:56

assume 100% of searches was for bush. Let’s say thats a hundred people.
466 people searched obama. the 466:100 ratio = 466%.
bush therefore had 466% fewer searches.

 
Comment by Dan
2011-05-04 02:16:45

I was wondering the exact same thing. What is 100,00? Is that some kind of new numbering system only yahoo knows about?

 
Comment by SA
2011-05-04 05:58:33

Right, this is a shocker, because three to seven-year-olds have a detailed understanding of current events and high retention rates for information. Aren’t you glad they’re bothering to look it up instead of being willfully ignorant?

 
Comment by madonnareplicas
2011-05-04 19:41:07

Strange it took them 10 years to find him with all their satelittes, awac airplanes and surveillance and other costly stuff. In teh end, it was a low-tech bullet who did him off.

 
Comment by Alfred
2011-05-04 19:42:57

there are small lies, big lies and then there are statistics :)

 
Comment by Blogged Out
2011-05-04 21:30:32

I find this exceedingly creepy and don’t trust its accuracy.
For purposes of argument, less assume it’s accurate: I am glad that “teens” are searching (or googling?) Osama Bin Laden using whatever syntax they choose. He was big in the news this weekend.
Why were searches for patriotic songs “off the charts” when other searches were quanitfiable?
ERROR. ERROR. ERROR.
I’m deleting my cookies and you don’t know how old I am!

 
Comment by Nathan
2011-05-05 01:58:43

Not hard to understand. How old were these kids when the towers were hit? (its already been 10 years) I would say most were too young to either be told by parents about terrorism or to be concerned enough to be reading the news at that age.
Furthermore, the face and or name of Bin Laden quickly faded from the news within the following years. So even if you grew up from 3, 5, 7 years of age and started caring enough about news to read it- reports would simply talk of terrorism or global terrorism, but Bin Laden? Well it took ten years to catch him. There wasnt much to report on otherwise- occasional videos with questionable authenticity.
As for parents…tell me this, are you going to tell your three year old that 3000 people were just killed by a terrorist let alone speak his name to them? Will you tell them 2 years later or 5 years later. I think for adults, that was too heart wrenching a thing to even mention among ourselves. Where were you when it happened? I dont know why the conversation always goes in that direction, I guess because, unless you were there at ground zero, we try to identify that we experienced the news together and we find a common bond in that defining and tragic moment in our history- perhaps as grief counseling.
But children, they dont know whats going on in the world, let alone have parents that tell them about horrible things; they are on a need to know basis. Well, what about school and the history books they teach from? Are you a vigilant parent? go read your teenagers history book and see what it says about that event.

 
Comment by Tricon11
2011-05-06 03:53:14

Just use a little common sense. There was well over 466,000 searches about Obama, but lets use that number to make it easy for you to understand. If there were 466,000 searches for obama in reference to the death of Bin Laden, and there was 466% fewer searches using the name George W. Bush that would mean his name was searched 100,000 times.
Try to understand there were millions of searches that took place in a 24 hour span not 10 LMAO!
By the way if there were only
17 total searches and 14 were about Obama and 3 were about Bush that would be 466%

 
Comment by Tricon11
2011-05-06 03:55:16

Nothing. You need to go back to school and take a simple class LOL

 
Comment by Tricon11
2011-05-06 04:06:37

The point that young people do not have a clue who Bin Laden was is just a reflection of what are schools are teaching. I guess there is no more social studies, US History, or current events. Might as well throw no physical education in.
But the Teachers need a raise, and more time off with pay.
The unions and the teachers who have bought into the current system are destroying the minds of our young people everyday.
Good night and God Bless

 
Comment by Your Good Health
2011-05-08 03:14:31

Some adults don’t know either, like what’s his name? Oh, President Bush

 
Comment by omer
2011-05-08 09:10:10

Why it took 10 years to kill a simple man like laden.
Why laden is barried in the sea.
Why America is so afraid for laden.
For Why Laden is terrorist?
Why America killed laden inspite of getting laden alive ?

 
Comment by omer
2011-05-08 09:14:40

who is laden

 
Comment by edhardy
2011-05-10 02:44:05

Where were you when it happened? I dont know why the conversation always goes in that direction, I guess because, unless you were there at ground zero, we try to identify that we experienced the news together and we find a common bond in that defining and tragic moment in our history- perhaps as grief counseling.
But children, they dont know whats going on in the world, let alone have parents that tell them about horrible things; they are on a need to know basis. Well, what about school and the history books they teach from? Are you a vigilant parent? go read your teenagers history book and see what it says about that event.

 
Comment by Kieran Donnelly
2011-05-10 23:40:09

Can’t believe it is 10 years.

 
Comment by drew
2011-05-11 15:54:03

I hate articles like this. “Teens don’t know who Osama Bin Laden Is”. It never says how many searches were done, just that 66% of them were from teens. If 1000 people search this and 660 are teens then yeah, 66% of the searches were from teens, and 660 teens don’t know who he is. It doesn’t prove anything about what most teens know about current events. 33% of the searches for this would be from people older than 17 (or younger? I don’t know if they can get data about people under 13), are you going to assume that 33% of adults don’t know who Osama is?

It’s abuse of statistics and it’s bad reporting. I can’t believe people are foolish enough to miss this (because they don’t understand how percentages work) and then blame teachers for not teaching current events.

 
Comment by PAC
2011-05-15 18:52:07

“Who Osama Bin Laden Is” means that Teens not take about zhengzhi.

 
Comment by alok kumar
2011-05-16 02:06:58

i think teenagers are not interested to keep themselves updated from news..

 
Comment by Emily Lee
2011-06-03 05:30:16

I feel confused about what your post, hope someone can explain…

 
Comment by blogmafia
2011-08-27 12:39:25

Hi I’m Martin I follow your website in a while a really good job thanks.

 
Comment by TeenageDiary
2011-09-11 00:36:59

Thank god i asnwered to all of them!! (except the last one)

 

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