Over the course of a year, we post hundreds of “Slices.” They are the short, newsy articles that run down the center of our homepage that are updated every day. The editors do their best to try and represent a variety of stories that matter to our readers, from hard news and interesting videos, to entertainment rumors and funny stories.
As 2013 comes to a close, we decided to take a look at the most-viewed slices over the last 12 months to see what they reveal about the deep inner psyche of readers, large-scale social media habits, search engine trends and the fan-base of Nicolas Cage.
We present the 10 most popular slices of 2013:
As cliché as it sounds, sometimes a single image (or in this case, two of the same images taken eight years apart), is worth thousands of words. The two photos of St. Peter’s Square—taken eight years apart—showcase just how much technology has changed our lives in less than a decade.
An epic church Easter production. A ball of flames. A soloist with nerves of steel and pipes of pure silk. Quite frankly, there is no reason that this video of a near-disastrous church play shouldn’t be the most viewed piece of content we’ve ever posted.
The Google Internet overlords smiled upon us with this slice about an ironic tweet from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, “explaining” the end of the hit sci-fi show. “It all happened. Dogs are great. RT @seany_white yo can i get an explanation to the end of lost?” Since we posted it back in February, dozens of people Googled “What happened at the end of the Lost” every day, and ended up on our slice. You’re welcome, confused Lost fans.
Evidently “Duck Dynasty without beards” was a pretty popular search term in 2013, because despite not generating many shares, Facebook likes or clicks from the homepage, thousands of curious search engine users landed on our slice. Thanks, Google!
The popularity of this slice, based on research by CareerAssessmentSite.com, was surprising. Apparently, there are a lot of readers interested in finding out how much people with their personality type earn on average. We hope it steers you to happier jobs in 2014.
Though this update about Rob Bell was pretty straightforward—he returned to the church he founded and played a trailer for a talk show he was pitching to several networks—anything dealing with the former pastor and author always seems to generate discussion. Even though the slice doesn’t mention one controversial element of anything he has ever said, because it’s Rob Bell, it generated a lot of discussion and debate.
Frankly, we’re surprised and a bit disappointed that this entire list isn’t just a rundown of all of the Left Behind updates we posted throughout the year. In 2013, we prided ourselves on being the No. 1 source of all information relating to the following: Top Global Actor Nicolas Cage; The Nic Caged-Helmed Left Behind reboot; the actual apocalypse. Though we assume that Left Behind-related posts, searches and social media musings dominated most global web traffic since the film was announced, this first look at the epic poster was the only one of our Left Behind updates to crack the top 10.
In a year rife with horrifying news stories (Killer cats! Russian meteors! Robots on Mars!), nothing could prepare us for the terror that are killer hornets from China. They fly 25-MPH, have made their way to the United States and have a tendency to go viral.
Parks and Rec may not be a ratings darling for NBC, but when the network announced it was putting the struggling sitcom on a mid-season hiatus, at least one a segment of the population cared—our readers. The update became the most read of slice of 2013. Leslie Knope would be proud.
Other Notable Popular Slices:
These didn’t make it into the top 10 (although they were still really popular), but still warrant a look back.
March 20, 2013: The day the earth stood still. Though it didn’t manage to crack the top 10, Chuck Norris’ beard-shaving brought out the best in our commenters: Carlos M. Gomez: “Samson had his hair cut off and look what happened to him … it seems history is doomed to repeat itself. Sigh.” Jason Terry: “He didn’t shave … merely stared at his beard in the mirror until all the hairs fell out.”
We’re assuming most of the traffic for this slice came from people shamefully hiding their dirty secret, scanning the Internet for the help they so desperately need. Too bad it turned out to be a hoax.
Derek Webb’s epic Twitter feud with Roots drummer and Late Night bandleader ?uestlove not only sparked a contentious social media he-said he-said, it also inspired one of Webb’s finest YouTube videos.
Once again, a picture—or a mental image of this happening—is worth a thousand words.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.