If you’re desperately trying to understand what makes America tick in 2018 don’t search for a book promising answers, a documentary seeking truths, or a 10-part podcast that will overload your data plan. Just check out Google’s top searches of 2018.
In it you will find that people are largely preoccupied with that most universal of interests: getting rich as quickly, and with as little effort, as possible. That and how to use our phones.
But it’s not all cynicism. The list starts off promisingly enough as “How to Vote” and “How to register to vote” are the top two searches. People want to be involved in the democratic process, and are being proactive in taking steps to ensure they get all the information needed to have their vote count.
However once past the first two results, the list veers into more good-for-me vs. good-for-all territory.
No. 3 is “How to play Mega Millions” (not to be confused with No. 7: “How to play Powerball”).
Coming in at No. 4 is “How to buy Ripple”, which is not the cheap wine of yore but a new-fangled cryptocurrency. No. 8 is also crypto-related: “How to buy bitcoin.” Both crypto searches seem to spring from the same get-rich-quick impulse that drives us to play the lottery; cryptocurrency is just the millennial version.
Speaking of millennials, No. 5 and No. 6 are both Snapchat-related: “How to turn off automatic updates” (No. 5) and “How to get the old Snapchat back” (No. 6), as is No. 9 (how to screen record).
And finally, something for Gen Z at No. 10: “How to get Boogie down emote,” which is a type of celebratory dance from the popular video game Fortnite.