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Irelands Biggest Hits 2009 Image Name: Irelands Biggest Hits 2009 Description: Ireland's Biggest "Hits" 2009 Copyright: © (source).  This image may be reproduced in print or electronic format forpromotional purposes only.

Ireland’s Biggest “Hits” 2009 is a fascinating overview of the past year as seen from the perspective of what we as a nation searched for online throughout 2009. Featuring an entertaining and interesting mix of celebrity and politics, sport and business, health and the weather, with the help of some of the country’s leading news and internet experts, it explores how what was going on in the real world at various times of the year both here and throughout the world piqued our online curiosity. The results highlight the most popular, topical, interesting, unusual, unexpected and plain bizarre top internet searches we as a nation conducted over the past 12 months.

Ireland’s Biggest “Hits” 2009 is not, however, a news review of 2009. Much of what made the news headlines and the front pages during the year features but the programme is more interested in how and why our particular news stories impacted on the web – what we were looking for; why; if we believed what we found; etc – rather than the full details of the news items themselves.

Michael Jackson’s death was the internet story of 2009. On the Thursday night in late June that news of his possible death started to filter through, the web strained under the pressure. In the hours leading up to midnight, traffic to various Irish newspaper websites doubled. Twitter began crashing. For half an hour, Google’s news section presumed that the bombardment of searches for “Michael Jackson” constituted a viral attack. And news of his death was broken through online entertainment site TMZ.

In Ireland’s Biggest “Hits” 2009 the Michael Jackson internet trail is just one of many we follow. With the help of Bryan Dobson, George Hook, Evelyn Cusack, Mark Little, Rick O’Shea, Jacqui Hurley and Anton Savage we wonder if we’re a celebrity obsessed nation? If the internet means we no longer trust our politicians? How our web use has changed in the face of the recession? What it is about sport that makes the internet the perfect font of all information? Why we want to know so much about topics as diverse as swine flu, the weather and Obama?

We ask if the internet means how we find our news, what we’re interested in and who we believe has changed forever? It’s an intriguing portrait that reveals much about the country’s increasing use of and reliance on computers – and a lot about ourselves too.