Martine Rolls: NZ's year in cyberspace

By Martine Rolls

As the end of the year is nearly here, the web brings us those great Top 10 lists again. They reflect the top news items, and the country certainly had its share of tragedy this year, as well as the many weird and wacky stories that made headlines.

Reflecting on the year gone by can hardly be avoided, so I had a look at all that has been gathered and arranged in Top 10s, 25s, 40s and 100s by my fellow online editors. I found songs, DVDs, smartphones, inventions, cars, baby names, and an incredible amount of other stuff.

On Monday, I came across "The most Googled food of 2011 in New Zealand". Cupcakes, cookies, macaroons and brownies all scored high on the list but at number one, which in hindsight was really no surprise, stood the KFC Double Down burger.

A story written by The New Zealand Herald in March about the impending release of the burger got more than 11,000 Facebook shares. With no notable advertising and nothing more than a press release, KFC managed to create a true media storm.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

It goes to show that any publicity is good publicity, as no amount of warnings from nutritionists in news stories could deter the stampede of those craving this deep-fried gathering of grease.

The Double Down boasted a massive 600 calories, and was only available for five weeks. I remember trying one, just because I wondered what the hype was all about, but I also clearly remember the heartburn that followed. I would rather Google salad recipes.

Always a bit of fun is watching the videos that have gone viral. I found "NZ's most loved YouTube clips of 2011" and while I always thought Kung Fu Fighting had the worst lyrics ever written, I am now convinced that Rebecca Black's song Friday can rightfully claim that spot. It was the most watched video on YouTube both in New Zealand and globally this year, with nearly 170 million views. The song has been branded the "worst song in pop history," and yes, it's awful.

I'm probably a bit too busy and possibly a tick too old to keep up with the latest in popular culture so I hadn't heard of "Nek Minnit".

Now I've seen the video, a short one that has taken second place on the best watched videos of NZ list, I get it. It's very Kiwi and funny as.

Of course there is a bit of support for the All Blacks in that list too, after hosting that big tournament this year, and it was great to see the mile-high madness with Richard Simmons again. It's brilliant, especially the bit with Paul Henry. What a clever way for Air New Zealand to present the in-flight safety instructions. With this, passengers might actually pay attention.

To find out the most Googled searches of the year globally, take a look at, for tools that give insight into past and present search trends. It's handy to use for research purposes or just to play with, and if you are ever stuck for trivia answers, this is a good place to start.

One of the highlights for me this year was the launch of our new website. The site looks much better and is more interactive than before. With top-notch reporting, amazing photography and an increasing amount of interesting video footage, we will continue to work on making your number one news portal for the Bay in 2012.

We broke plenty of amazing stories on our website this year, including some real crackers like the dancing granny, a story about a house in Te Puke where time had stood still for 50 years, a mummified cat found in the wall of a Mount Maunganui home, and more recently a story about a baby fur seal who had found its way to a Welcome Bay woman's couch through the cat flap.

These were the stories that were picked up by websites and newspapers all over the world, and we received feedback from places as far away as Norway, the USA and the Middle East. The best viewed and most shared story from our news website this year was an exclusive interview with AC/DC's Phil Rudd by our indulge magazine editor Annemarie Quill. It was published early September, and it still gets plenty of hits today.

2011 wasn't an easy year but besides all the obvious downers, we certainly had a lot of laughs as well. I'd just like to say Happy New Year to everyone, and I hope that 2012 will be fantastic. Here at the Bay of Plenty Times and, we're ready and happy to share yet another year of news with you.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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