Monday, July 21, 2008

Losing Our Cool

I'm still trying to figure this one out. I've been having fun with Google Trends - the nearest you can get to an ECG test for the entire planet. You type in one (or more) terms and it shows how often that particular term has been searched for on Google going back to 2004. Note: it's an index of the volume of searches, not the share. So I was fascinating to discover a steady but inexorable decline in the number of searches on Google that include the word 'Ireland' in them.

Perhaps the word has got out about our dire weather with knock on consequences for holiday-related searches? Or is a (negative) dividend from peace in Northern Ireland (as suggested by Don Thornhill when I chatted to him about it). I'm not sure, to be honest. But it is interesting: as a measure of "what's hot, and what's not", does it mean that Ireland has lost its 'cool'?

Cool is a fairly nebulous concept of course (though it has been around for some time). And there's not a whole lot of economic analysis about cool and the wellbeing of nations. Though the Economics Search Engine does give us a great abstract of The Conquest of Cool by Thomas Frank.

So are we no longer cool as a nation: and does it matter to our future wellbeing (as exporters and entrepreneurs)? Maybe this is just the stuff of leprechaunic dreams: or maybe it's telling us something about the consequences of our delusional obsession with land and property speculation as a get-rich-quick scheme - definitely uncool. I'll keep watching the Google Trends, looking for signs of an upturn along with the more standard indicators.

1 comment:

  1. I have it from some EI sources, that one of the triggers of ex pats coming home in the 1997-2002 was the availabilitiy of the news on www.ireland.com. They could feel close to home, and felt the "good news tide". Maybe the Irish Times going behind its wall did that search term no favours? Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of irish times in all years. compare Irish times, jobs in ireland, on Trends !

    irish times
    1.00
    jobs in ireland
    0.47

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