November 12th, 2013
03:49 PM ET

Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(CNN) - It's official: Pope Francis is the most talked-about person on the planet.

More folks have been chatting about the popular new pontiff online this year than Edward Snowden, Kate Middleton or even the Internet's favorite bad girl, Miley Cyrus.

That's according to the 14th annual survey from the Global Language Monitor, a Texas-based company that trackers top talkers on the web. The GLM says their rankings are based on an analysis of English-language blogs, social media and 275,000 electronic and online news media.

The GLM broke their research into three categories: top words, top phrases and top names.

Besides being the Internet's top name, the Pope's Twitter handle, @Pontifex, was the fourth most talked about word thus far in 2013.

The top three words were: "404," the numeric code for a broken web-page; "fail," the one-word taunt for all-things unsuccessful; and "Hashtag," the "#" used to denote topics on Twitter.

Paul JJ Payack, president and "Chief Word Analyst" at GLM says the 404 and "fail" got a big boost from the problematic launch of the Obama administration's website for purchasing health care under the Affordable Care Act.

MORE ON CNN: Even atheists love this Pope

The year's top phrases also have a negative vibe: "toxic politics;" "federal shutdown;" and "global warming/climate change" took the top three spots.

Somehow, those phrases still seem more optimistic than last year's most popular phrase: Apocalypse/Armageddon. The End Times fascination probably reflected interest in the failed prophecies of Harold Camping, a doomsday radio preacher who predicted the world would end last year.

Besides the pope, here are the Internet's other most talked-about proper names in 2013:

2. Obamacare

3. The National Security Agency

4. Edward Snowden

5. Kate Middleton

5a. "HRH Georgie,"  the nickname of Prince George of Cambridge, son of Middelton and Prince William

6. The IRS

7. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

8. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

9. The Tea Party

10. The Boston Marathon bombers

MORE ON CNN: Why the Pope's embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Internet • Leaders • Media • Pope Francis

soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. Poman

    I can't believe all the bickering going on here, missing the most important part of the article that deserves attention: the improper use of "literally"!

    For those with no sense of humor, that was intended to be funny.

    Seriously, CNN, raise the standard. MKMilan, way to be the first to point it out.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  2. ramsuji78

    There was an Italian writer who created a character, Don Camiilo, a country Italian priest, Don Camillo was asked by a coach who does God favor in a coming Football Match. Don Camillo said, both teams will be playing and praying to win, but one is likely to lose. Then will one praise God, and will the other curse Him? Don Camillo says God cannot be concerned with matters like this; it does not make any difference to Him.Then he comments about Hurricanes, Storms and Earthquakes:"God cannot easily interfere with the order of Nature."" What do we know? All we asked to do is to have Faith, this is what God wants, and help our fellow-man. The business and manipulations of all other things are really not our concern, we can only look and see, and perhaps believe.

    December 12, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  3. Fr33th1nk3r

    While this may seem like splitting hairs, as I am a non-believer myself, I have never been able to fathom the concept behind a "pope" or "pastor". The Bible does not mention anything about Jesus' message only being understandable by a select few people wearing goofy looking robes? Do we have to have a college degree in Jesus to be able to be a church leader? Why one person talking while the others all have to listen? Where does the "pope" or "pastor" fit into the picture? Since the Bible is supposed to be freely available to all– shouldn't the message also be as open to interpretation? Does this "God" only talk to clergymen?

    December 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • diaryofwar

      what the hell does anything you just said have to do with this article?

      December 2, 2013 at 6:14 am |
  4. typically

    The free are in prison and slaves run

    November 23, 2013 at 7:48 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.