The Only Way Is Essex inspires “reems” of discussion on Facebook

TOWIE is the third most discussed topic among Facebook's UK users in 2011


Bob Hoskins was right when he told the nation that it was good to talk back in 1996, but he can’t have had any idea at the time that many of us would be eschewing his beloved landlines and doing the lion’s share of our chatting on social networking sites 15 years later.


Facebook and Twitter have changed the ways we communicate in a radical manner not seen since the rise of email or SMS, and the exciting thing about social network gossip is that it’s analysable, giving us the firmest idea ever of what’s on humanity’s mind at any given time. To put it pretentiously, scrutinising status updates allows us a glimpse of that great collective unconscious that CG Jung kept talking about.

And it turns out that a great deal of the time the hive mind is contemplating TV shows, at least on Facebook in the UK.

According to a newly published survey of 30 million Brits’ status updates in 2011, viewers just couldn’t get enough of Mark Wright and his Essex-bound friends over the past 12 months, with TOWIE topping the list of TV related updates posted by Brits on the social network.

In fact, the reality show was the third most talked about topic of any subject in Britain last year, surpassed only by discussion of the Royal Wedding and the August riots.

Indeed, Joey Essex’s contribution to the OED, the word ‘reem’, was the tenth most mentioned term among Facebook’s UK users, suggesting that TOWIE is the perfect British TV format for the social networking age.

ITV’s supernatural drama, Marchlands, proved surprisingly popular and emerged as the second-most discussed TV topic in Blighty, a feat perhaps aided by the presence of no fewer than 25 groups and pages dedicated to the programme on Facebook.

Children’s favourite Rastamouse ranked third in TV-related status updates, while The X Factor’s wild child, Frankie Cocozza, bagged the fourth spot and Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood was the fifth most popular piece of telly discussed on the social network in the UK.

British attention was also focussed on the high-profile deaths of Amy Winehouse, Osama Bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi, pop stars Jessie J and Ed Sheeran and the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 over the past year, according to the survey.

Here’s the complete list of the UK’s top ten talking points for 2011:

1. Royal Wedding
2. UK Riots
4. Death of Amy Winehouse
5. Death of Osama Bin Laden
6. Death of Muammar Gaddafi
7. Jessie J
8. Ed Sheeran
9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

10. Reem


Were you chatting about any of the above over the year? Are you surprised by what have been the hot topics of conversation these past 12 months on Facebook? Why not get your virtual tongue wagging in the comments below…