This vs. that: Two topics go head-to-head each day

Editor’s note: This vs. that is a rotating feature that includes new head-to-head topics each day. Click through the gallery to see the archived charts.

Story highlights

What are people talking about? Facebook mentions give a glimpse

CNN now has ability to see how often some topics are mentioned

Data is broad and shows demographics, rather than specific conversations

CNN  — 

People talk about all kinds of things on social media: Their day-to-day lives, articles generating a lot of buzz and the things they ate for breakfast.

Some of the conversations by Facebook’s 128 million daily users revolve around the news, and CNN now has the ability to take a peek into this world.

Facebook has given CNN access to demographic data that tells us how many people have mentioned a topic along with age, gender and location information. We aren’t actually reading through conversations, but rather looking at numbers that show us trends.

Since we’ve just gotten this information, we thought we’d try something new. Each day, we’ll be comparing two topics that show interesting trends in their demographic data.

You might see that more women are talking about a particular topic than men, or that younger age groups are mentioning one news event versus another. While this isn’t a scientific study, we hope pitting two topics against each other will give some perspective on these results.

Sometimes, these numbers can show us things we don’t expect. For example, we recently learned that many of the Facebook users talking about Iran were young people, especially internationally.

We also found a similar trend in ages among the people talking about the government shutdown. Looking at Facebook mentions can give us insights that would be hard to get in any other way.

Check back here to see new charts about topics in the news and popular conversation, and if you have ideas you want us to look into, let us know in the comments below.