10 Obsessions of 2010

The definition of a 2010 obsession: a person, a pop-culture phenomenon, a political party, a gadget, or a pesty plague that spurred constant online monitoring and obsessive tangential searches.

The year has offered many pleasurable distractions (ooh, it’s the Old Spice guy), but once one amusement fades, we’re on to the next (step up, dog dancing the merengue).

Obsessions in 2010 inspired constant Web surveillance (just when is the new iPhone coming out?) and vigilance for getting the scoop when a key moment came (order in the court, here comes Lindsay).

Don’t mistake compulsion for approval, though. An object of obsession can inspire impassioned rants (another privacy change?), exterminating impulses (get those bugs out of my bed), or unreasoning ardor (a dragon-tattooed heroine, yes; her author’s lumbering prose, meh). Some preoccupations burrow deep to trigger a latent human impulse: the collecting instinct, in the case of Silly Bandz; the joy of song from “Glee.” Other obsessions unleash a spirit of confused but delicious mutiny — tea party, anyone?

So what triggered the click, click, click of searches and not only more of them, but also a positive, fervent leap in vigilance compared to last year? Go ahead, try not to read on …

–Vera H-C Chan and Melissa O’Neil

Obsessive … Yahoo! Year in Review editorial lead for four years running, Vera H-C Chan dissects news events and search trends to share the why behind what’s hot online and in the media. Before Yahoo!, she worked as a features/A&E reporter for San Francisco and Bay Area newspapers and magazines. On Yahoo! her writing can be found all over, including in Buzz Log, TV, Movies, and her Shine blog, Fast-Talking Dame.

Compulsive … Before joining Yahoo! as a Front Page editor, Melissa O’Neil was for 11 years a writer and editor for magazines, including Self, Allure, Glamour, and the now-defunct Cargo and YM. She now knows more than she ever expected to about superfoods, ab moves, lip-gloss, and dream dudes.