It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been a fortnight since the people of the UK voted to leave the EU, such has been the fallout of the decision. You don’t need me to recap everything that’s happened in UK politics since June 23rd, but its transformation from the often mundane and tedious to the alarmingly eventful is perhaps best summed up by this tweet:
The internet has certainly felt the upshot of recent events too, with your Facebook timeline no doubt full of people continuing to have their say on what has been probably the most controversial and thought-provoking period of UK politics in living memory, but what have people been Googling?
We can find out with the help of Google Trends, that fantastic timewasting tool that gives you a snapshot of what people have been searching for as events have been unfolding around them. Here are three search terms with a new level of popularity, all thanks to 51.9% of UK voters:
1. Irish passport
In what was a somewhat vicious debate at times in the run-up to the vote, one of the seemingly more trivial moments was when Prime Minister David Cameron argued that leaving the EU could mean more expensive holidays abroad for Brits. However, a search term boomed on June 24th that suggested that people may have their holidays in mind.
Whether it was down to the hope of being able to travel freely around Europe, or a wish to just be a different nationality, the below graph shows how UK searches for ‘Irish passport’ changed post-referendum.
Not surprisingly, search volumes were highest in Northern Ireland, where all natives can choose whether to have a UK or Irish passport, but searches increased on both sides of the Irish Sea. With having an Irish parent or even grandparent likely sufficient to qualify for Irish citizenship, it appears many UK nationals have considered embracing their Gaelic roots and thereby remaining EU citizens.
This was more than just idle Googling too, with a Belfast Post Office reportedly running out of Irish passport forms due to a surge in demand.
2. Living abroad
How many people did you hear or see on June 24th saying “that’s it, I’m leaving the country” or words to that effect? Well, according to Google Trends, a considerable number thought about it hard enough to search for ‘living abroad’.
Whether they will be able to do this or not once Britain leaves the EU remains to be seen, although nations like Germany have mooted the idea of an olive branch being offered to young Brits hoping to live and work abroad.
3. What is the EU?
It didn’t escape the attention of a number of newspapers, including The Independent, that British Google users appeared to be asking the search engine what the EU was the day after they had voted to leave it.
Did UK voters make a major decision based on something they knew nothing about? The Telegraph sees it rather differently, which highlights the very different way left-wing and right-wing sources are viewing the Brexit fallout.
Whatever your take on the event, there’s no denying that Brexit has truly shook the internet in the last couple of weeks. With it still dominating the news and discussion, it’s worth considering diving into the subject with your online content and exploring relevant hashtags that may be trending on Twitter, although staying politically neutral is always advisable in business.