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            03 / 02 / 17

            Taking advantage of the January effect to get off sugar and Facebook

            • 2016 was a dismal year, and most of us are ready to sweep it under the rug and move on. However, what can be said of our behaviour at the start of the new year — do we act any differently in January than we do at other time of the year?

              Historically the stock market is known to rise more in January than any other month, an anomaly dubbed ‘the January effect’ and attributed in some part to general optimism. Does the same rule apply to our online behaviour? What does it look like when we dissect recurring and emergent online trends?

              A look at resolutions set out on Twitter over the last few week seems to say we have indeed been very hopeful in January. The top resolutions mined from a sample of over 2,000 tweets were unsurprisingly about re-setting to good habits by losing weight, hitting the gym, eating healthier, and getting finances in order.

              The top hobbies people would like to do more in 2017 were reading, travelling and learning a new language. And picking up a hobby at the start of the year can indeed be more effective. According to language learning app DuoLingo, people who sign up around the turn of the year tend to stay more active than regular users.

              Quitting smoking was a moderately popular resolution — searches for the term tend to peak every January, but it declined relative to the beginning of previous years.

              Instead, the top vices to quit this year were sugar and Facebook.

              Sugar was already on the Singapore Government’s radar as it pushed a high-budget nation-wide campaign against over-eating ahead of Chinese New Year.

              Along with reducing their social media usage, more people resolved to be mindful of fake news after the US election results. There have been over 400 tweets in the last few days alone from people holding themselves and others to this resolution.

              We can see that in January people are different — they are shinier, happier, more hopeful and more determined than at any other time of the year. Of course the tricky part is keeping this positivity alive and making the January effect last for the year ahead.

              Led by our Digital Forensics team, Pulse is a weekly series exploring online culture

              Image source: Pexels.com

              • Article by Lakshamy Priya