I’m a huge fan Google Trends. I sometimes use Google Trends to understand what energy topics people are currently interested in. I read energy stories daily and am usually up to date on energy topics that interest me at the moment. But I like to check it out every now and then.
Of course, Google Trends isn’t perfect. If I search for “energy” it sometimes gives me results that aren’t exactly what I’m looking for. For example, I just checked the top 5 “Related Queries” for “energy” in the US for 2022. (The list looks completely different if you change the region to “Worldwide”).
Here they are, followed by the percentage increase in interest for the topic:
- Sam Brinton Department of Energy: +2250%
- Fusion Energy Breakthrough: +1900%
- Primary Energy Drink: +950%
- What does energy work pay?: +800%
- Is energy a good career path?: +800%
Looking at this list, three of the five themes (2, 4, and 5) are immediately familiar to me. Actually, my previous article covered the second item on the list. The third item is unrelated to the kind of energy I’m interested in, and the last two items are not items I’ve ever written about.
But I was immediately drawn to the top trending item on the list. I had no idea who Sam Brinton is, but I thought I should probably give the burst of interest . My immediate thought was that this person was probably involved in the fusion breakthrough.
However, I did some quick research and it wasn’t that at all. It turns out that Sam Brinton is a nuclear engineer and LGBTQ activist (also pictured at the top of this article). Brinton, an MIT graduate, served as deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste management at the Nuclear Energy Administration from June to December 2022. There’s a nuclear angle, but that’s not why Brinton was in the news.
Last October, Brinton was charged with theft for allegedly stealing a woman’s suitcase in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport baggage carousel. After that incident was made public, Las Vegas investigators issued a second warrant after Brinton was matched to security footage involving another theft of a woman’s luggage.
Brinton allegedly has he has since been fired by the Department of Energy.
Honestly, I don’t know why this topic should be so interesting, but I can take some guesses as to why. Energy is a boring subject for many people, but this is the kind of salacious story that might have broad appeal to those who aren’t interested in energy in general. It’s not an energy story, per se, or the kind of subject I’d generally cover. But it’s the “energy”-related query that was the biggest, according to Google Trends.
In addition to related queries, there is a “related topics” category for the search term you enter. For “Energy” there are 5 main related topics:
- New Constellation Energy: +110%
- Nuclear Fusion: +110%
- Constellation: 90%
- United States Department of Energy: +70%
- Scientist: +70%
Constellation New Energy describes itself as “the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy and a leading competitive retail supplier of energy and energy products and services to homes and businesses across the United States.”
Constellation has been in the news several times in 2022, but I’m not sure why the interest would increase so much compared to other energy topics. The company’s stock is up nearly 100% in 2022, compared to just 1.4% in the energy sector. So maybe Constellation was featured in some high-profile article or maybe an investment newsletter promotional ad.
In addition to Google Trends, I also get information about the latest keywords that bring readers to my articles. As I write this, the Top 10 is:
- Nuclear fusion
- Breakthrough in nuclear fusion
- Fusion breakthrough
- Lack of diesel fuel
- Tesla’s market share
- Fusion energy breakthrough
- Nuclear fission
- Why is natural gas so expensive?
- Is the US energy independent?
Although the merger records are relatively recent — dating back to just last week’s article, number 9 on the list is consistently popular. US energy independence is a topic that is always in the news and people are always looking for more information on this topic.
Anyway, I know this article has been a little different, but I thought it might be interesting to take a look at what’s currently trending in the energy sector. Sometimes I find myself confused by what has become trendy. Other times it helps me decide what I need to cover in the next article.