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What to Give Up for Lent 2019? Consider Twitter's Top 100 Ideas – ChristianityToday.com

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Once again, you can follow in real time what Twitter users say they are giving up for Lent, which this year begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6.

As in past years, food is the most popular category for abstention, followed by technology and “vices” like smoking and drinking alcohol.

After analyzing the first 1,500 tweets—both serious and sarcastic—OpenBible.info’s Stephen Smith noted that “perennial favorites” such as social networking, alcohol, and Twitter lead the list so far.

“If I had to guess, with an unusually cold February across much of the U.S., weather might feature more prominently this year than last year,” wrote Smith, who has tracked Lenten tweets since 2009.

Last year, food items were two to three times as popular to abstain from as technology items or personal habits, according to 29,609 tweets (excluding retweets) analyzed by Smith during the week of Ash Wednesday 2018.

Social networking ranked No. 1. The biggest increase: plastics.

CT previously reported how LifeWay Research offered a chance to compare Twitter’s serious vs. sarcastic sharers via a 2017 study on what Americans who observe the Lenten season before Easter say they actually give up:

Of note: 3 in 10 Americans with evangelical beliefs (28%) say they observe Lent; of these, 42 percent typically fast from a favorite food or beverage while 71 percent typically attend church services.

Catholics remain the most likely to observe Lent (61%), with 2 out of 3 fasting from a favorite food or beverage (64%).

Overall, 1 in 4 Americans observes Lent (24%), according to LifeWay. Most American observers fast from a favorite food or beverage (57%) vs. a bad habit (35%) or a favorite activity (23%).

Hispanics were the most likely ethnic group to observe Lent (36%), and were more likely than whites to abstain from a favorite activity (34% vs. 17%) or a bad habit (50% vs. 30%).

Smith made a word cloud of the top 100 results of 2018:

Twitter's Top 100 Ideas for Lent 2018

Image: Stephen Smith / OpenBible.info

Twitter’s Top 100 Ideas for Lent 2018

Here are how the top 6 ideas have trended over time:

The trend line of Twitter's top 6 Lent ideas (2019 data is preliminary).

Image: OpenBible.info

The trend line of Twitter’s top 6 Lent ideas (2019 data is preliminary).

CT regularly reports on Lent, including three views on why bother celebrating Lent, the best books to read for Lent, Lent in Narnia, and the argument for lengthening Lent. CT editor-in-chief Mark Galli offered his thoughts on “giving up self discipline” for Lent.

Below is Smith’s running tally of the top 100 most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (both serious and cynical) in 2019. (This list will eventually cover all tweets from March 3–9 that mention giving up something for Lent and, except as noted, excludes retweets.)

Top 100 Things Twitter Gave Up for Lent (based on 12,725 tweets)

Rank What Number of Tweets
1. social networking 743
2. twitter 608
3. alcohol 469
4. chocolate 285
5. lent 202
6. meat 183
7. coffee 149
8. fast food 134
9. sex 131
10. sweets 130
11. school 118
12. soda 115
13. swearing 109
14. work 108
15. college 106
16. men 102
17. giving up things 89
18. brexit 88
19. bread 86
20. sugar 86
21. chips 78
22. religion 69
23. beer 65
24. catholicism 64
25. you 64
26. life 63
27. boys 62
28. gossip 62
29. facebook 61
30. instagram 59
31. marijuana 59
32. stuff 55
33. smoking 53
34. virginity 48
35. candy 46
36. starbucks 43
37. cheese 42
38. rice 41
39. red meat 40
40. food 39
41. carbs 39
42. junk food 39
43. booze 38
44. hope 37
45. fried food 35
46. donald trump 34
47. me 34
48. dairy 33
49. homework 32
50. breathing 32
51. pizza 31
52. winter 31
53. people 30
54. pancakes 29
55. christianity 29
56. cookies 29
57. ice cream 28
58. him 28
59. takeout 27
60. myself 25
61. wine 25
62. liquor 25
63. eating out 24
64. caffeine 24
65. church 23
66. plastic 23
67. diet coke 21
68. shopping 21
69. netflix 20
70. boba 19
71. lying 19
72. my job 19
73. masturbation 19
74. stress 18
75. oxygen 18
76. depression 17
77. pasta 17
78. single use plastic 17
79. spending 16
80. this 16
81. procrastination 16
82. anxiety 16
83. my will to live 16
84. sobriety 16
85. french fries 15
86. fizzy drinks 15
87. complaining 15
88. negativity 15
89. chick fil a 14
90. desserts 14
91. naps 14
92. living 13
93. crying 13
94. pussy 13
95. chicken 13
96. coke 12
97. self doubt 12
98. everything 12
99. god 12
100. online shopping 12
Rank Category Number of Tweets
1. food 2,308
2. technology 1,561
3. smoking/drugs/alcohol 818
4. habits 618
5. irony 569
6. relationship 427
7. school/work 424
8. sex 259
9. religion 235
10. generic 141
11. politics 136
12. money 67
13. health/hygiene 64
14. entertainment 63
15. weather 49
16. shopping 43
17. sports 26

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