The Year (2016) in Review

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Year (2016) in Review

This is the time to recap the year that was.

There are a number of ways to do it, many of which are interesting. You can look at a year in terms of notable deaths, viral events, political rises and falls…

But how do you really get a 12-month snapshot of a culture’s zeitgeist?

I would argue for two words: Google searches.

I’m not saying that this will be what historians will mark in 10, much less 100 years… even less what is most significant. But I will say that it may be the clearest window into our current soul.

So here we go with a few peeks into our inner world, courtesy of Google itself.

Top 10 Trending Searches:

  1.  Powerball
  2.  Prince
  3.  Hurricane Matthew
  4.  Pokémon Go
  6.  Olympics
  7.  David Bowie
  8.  Donald Trump
  9.  Election
  10.  Hillary Clinton

Top 10 “How To…?” Searches:

  1.  How to play Pokémon Go?
  2.  How to register to vote?
  3.  How to play Powerball?
  4.  How to make slime?
  5.  How to move to Canada?
  6.  How to battle in Pokémon Go?
  7.  How to appear funny?
  8.  How to catch Pokémon Go?
  9.  How to vote early?
  10.  How to use Snapchat filters?

Top 10 “What is…?” Questions:

  1. What is Pokémon Go?
  2. What is a Caucus?
  3. What is Brexit?
  4. What are electoral votes?
  5. What is the Electoral College?
  6. What is Aleppo?
  7. What is the mannequin challenge?
  8. What is the European Union?
  9. What is Citizens United?
  10. What is a Superdelegate?

And finally, the Top 10 People of 2016 we were interested in:

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Michael Phelps
  4. Bernie Sanders
  5. Steven Avery
  6. Ryan Lochte
  7. Simone Biles
  8. Cam Newton
  9. Usain Bolt
  10. Kevin Durant

Welcome to our world.

James Emery White


See the “Year in Search in 2016” for the United States, Google, read online

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His forthcoming book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian Culture, is available for pre-order on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

The Year (2016) in Review