WORDS. They are magnificent things, binding us together through language, literature and Google searches.
With a market share of more than 92% in Australia, it's clear Google is the online information hub our nation turns to as we collectively type in certain words that will ensure the technology delivers reams of knowledge about really important stuff.
And when a year draws to a close, the eager beaver Google droids draw all those words together, count them and deliver a suitable list for media to turn into stories about the trends we all followed over the past 12 months.
Before we go any further though, we'd just like to send this little disclaimer to future historians, anthropologists and etymologists: "#notallaustralians are responsible for the following Google moments that defined 2016. Most Australians, but not all."
Anyway, back to Dr Google and how we asked the internet giant to help us unravel the riddles of everyday life Down Under and across the globe in 2016.
Why is my poop green and other catastrophes?
NO crap! "Why is my poop green?" scored the number four in the top 10 "why is ...." questions category. Our only saving grace is that more people wanted to know "Why is there a leap day?" (rolls eyes, mutters something about earth, orbit, sun and calendar synchronisation); "Why is the sky blue?" (rolls eyes more, wonders why so many people had their heads in the clouds during this science lesson in school); and "Why is my internet slow?" (fair 'nuff, but maybe NBN and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield can answer this question more appropriately).
FYI: If your poop is green, Dr Google says you're probably eating loads of green leafy vegetables.
If it's purple you might want to lay off the beetroot.
How we helped Donald trump Hillary
THIS year, Americans went to the polls and that resulted in widespread interest in the two key candidates: Donald "grab 'em by the pussy" Trump and Hillary "you've got mail" Clinton.
It wasn't enough that Trump was beaming into our lounge rooms daily from our television sets, invading our social media feeds and infecting our radio airwaves.
No! Mr "Let's Make America Great Again" also had to appear in the top spot of Google's trending topics for the past 12 months.
Death becomes them
ANYWAY, enough about the POTUS-elect. Let's move onto a much more calming topic - death.
It's probably simpler to ask who didn't die in 2016, than to ask who did.
David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, Christina Grimmie, Leonard Cohen and Gene Wilder all lost their lives in the past 12 months.
We're taking a small punt here, but we reckon they'd have been happier to NOT have appeared on Google's list of top-searched dead people of 2016.
Footballer dogged by sex video
VIDEOS of Roosters footballer Mitchell Pearce's decisions to sexually harass a woman and to simulate sex with a dog at a party were caught on mobile phones and led to him being the top-searched Australian of 2016.
Aussies were also keen on knowing more about music icon Molly Meldrum thanks to the release of a mini-series about his life.
Nine Network journalist Tara Brown's name sky-rocketed across the country following her involvement in the bungled kidnapping of two Aussie kids in Lebanon.
Controversial and divisive federal senator Pauline Hanson and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also ranked well as did athlete Michelle Jenneke who became a household name after footage of her "jiggling" before her big Olympic race went viral.
Making news is on trend
IT SEEMS Australians were less interested in news about death and destruction this year than other major topics.
The US election, the Australian Census, Pokemon Go, the solar eclipse and the Oscars out-trended the Dreamworld tragedy where four people died; the deadly Brussels terror attack; the Zika virus; the killing of Harambe the gorilla to save a little boy's life; and Hurricane Matthew that killed more than 1600 people and caused more than $10 billion in damage from Haiti to America.
Nothing outranks the Olympics
IT'S no mean feat guessing which sporting event was the most googled in 2016.
The Olympics out-paced Euro 2016, the Australian Open, the Melbourne Cup, UFC, Wimbledon, Tour de France, the AFL grand final and super rugby.
The not so social media
IN the twitterverse, there was just no getting away from the US election and Donald Trump.
Australia's most tweeted tweet of 2016 - by film maker and researcher Paxmee - says everything you need to know about the election campaign result in just 14 words: "Tell me again how rape and sexual assault accusations will ruin a man's career."
Also making a big impact - and not necessarily in a good way - on Twitter was demographer Bernard Salt's pledge for Australia Day 2017: "Let's make smashed avocado our national breakfast and leave lamb for the lunchtime barbie!"
The top trending Twitter moments in Australia were: #auspol, #ausvotes, #Rio2016, #qanda, #Brexit, #ElectionNight, #ARIAs, #PokemonGo, #AustraliaDay and #ausopen.
The year's top Twitter hashtags were: #blacklivesmatter, #letthemstay, #loveislove, #MarriageEquality, #bringthemhere, #prayfornice, #LoveWins, #PrayforOrlando, #ruokayday and #closethecamps.
The top trending topics on Facebook for the year offered few surprises.
The US election, Malcolm Turnbull, shark attacks, David Bowie, Pokemon Go, the AFL grand final and Pauline Hanson were among the most talked about topics.
- ARM NEWSDESK