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Hot topics on the Fourth of July

fireworksRun a search online for “What does the Fourth of July mean to you” and you will see real examples of how freedoms are exercised in social media as people share their thoughts in a variety of ways – some cheerful, some angry but, all in all, with a lot of passion. So knowing that the meaning of the holiday varies from person to person, I thought we should look at what unites people on the Fourth of July. Not surprisingly, many people are sharing what they are going to eat and how they are planning to spend the day. The results are interesting – and mouthwatering!

People love posting about food, and the Fourth of July definitely sees some menu favorites, especially with some “American” staples emerging as favorites. Barbeque is, by far, what folks plan to be eating (and doing!). People are excited about hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream! S’mores, a campfire staple, are also mentioned, but more people are excited about side salads. And lest we not be considered healthy, fruit is there too – watermelon is mentioned in 8% of food conversations.

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It is interesting to note that these results match up with research we recently did on Mom discussions. Unsurprisingly, in the months of June and July, moms spend more time than talking about picnics and BBQs — and the planning and preparation for those events – than during other months of the year. Snacks (including healthy ones like fruit) and ice cream were both a major part of the conversation.

In terms of how people are planning to spend the holiday, we looked at a variety of (my favorite) pastimes. Here is how the social world is going to be spending the day:

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I was surprised by the small number of folks talking about fireworks, which led me to wonder if fireworks are just a given, so people only discuss what they’re going to be doing in addition to watching them? Nevertheless, the majority of Tweets apparently will be written from atop a boat or cruising on a jet ski, as over 48% of folks talked about spending time on the water. Ten percent of people are planning on hiking – I’m expecting lots of sunset shots on Instagram. The 7.8% talking about getting some sun probably make up some of those beach- or water-bound or mountaineering posters. Ten percent of posters talked about taking to the open road this long weekend while 20% are camping out. Lots of fun planned for sure.

So maybe what we like to eat and how we plan to spend our time represent how we as individuals look at our free time. And isn’t that freedom of choice part of what the Fourth of July is really about?  I’m just asking…

Finally, lest we not forget our history lessons, the American Revolution and the British are mentioned by 5% of all authors as they talk about the Fourth of July.

Happy 4th everyone!

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