Sci & Tech

Iran Internet Trends

Iran Internet Trends
Iran Internet Trends

It’s the end of 2015, but the Iranian yearend is still three months away (March 19, 2016). Se we look back at the events shaping Iran’s online searches during the current Iranian month that ended on Dec. 21.

The month has gone full circle in terms of interest with television programs and celebrities taking center-stage.

Taking the top spot in that month was the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice, otherwise known in Persian as Shab-e Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh. This refers to the longest night of the year coinciding with Dec. 21, which has been celebrated by successive generations of Iranians dating backing millennia and remains a staple of wholesome family activities in the contemporary Islamic Republic.

The ancient former capital of Isfahan led searches for the ceremonial evening with the southern province of Khuzestan standing at second place. Searches for “Shab-e Yalda” written in Persian peaked, according to the search giant, on December 19.

In second place was Iranian actress, Elham Charkhandeh, a relatively famous performer who hit the news for her dress change. During the past month, Charkhandeh began to wear the traditional chador (a full-body covering that only reveals the face and hands), a far cry from her former attire.

Many Iranians criticized her online for adopting the conservative dress code. The city that searched the most for the actress was the capital Tehran.

It’s back to education in our third most searched term this month with “Saptenam Arshad” written in Persian and meaning “Postgrad Registration”. It was a key event for many, as they intend to continue their tertiary-level education by applying for master’s programs.  

In fourth and fifth place was the incredibly popular DVD series “Shahrzad” written in Persian. According to Al-Monitor, Shahrzad is centered on a love story between two university students and narrated in a historical setting.

The story takes place in the early 1950s, amid one of the most important events in the Middle East at that time: the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry. The Aug. 19, 1953, coup d’etat that ousted then-prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq is also highlighted, raising additional interest among Iranians.

The number one city fixated on the TV series was the southern oil city of Ahvaz, maybe hitting a cord with their historical grievances with British Petroleum.

The sixth ranking pertained to another Iranian actress named Mehraveh Sharifinia written in Persian. She plays the leading role in a TV series named “Kimiya”. Many people searched the actress during the earlier half of December with searches dropping off in the following week.

The city that conducted the most searches for the actress was Isfahan with northeastern Mashhad following suit.

In seventh place was the search term “Imam Reza” (PBUH) written in Persian gaining 170% of the search growth this month. Interestingly enough, searches for the holy figure peaked on December 11, a day before his martyrdom in the western town of Tous in Khorasan. Again, Khorasan led the search polls with Mashhad running ahead of other cities.

Religious events again hit the search results for the previous Iranian month, with the holy day of “Arbaeen” written in Persian standing at eighth place. Arbaeen is the 40th-day anniversary of religious observance marked after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH). The peak search day for the event was on Dec. 1 with the city of Qom registering the most searches.

Another TV show that led to the ninth most hits was “Serial Kimiya” written in Persian, which depicts the upheavals faced by a family living in southern Iran before, during and after the revolution. The events revolving around the protagonist, Kimiya, have captured the minds of Iranians during the 100-episode series and remains one of the most watched TV shows in the country.

In 10th place was “Kanoon” written in Persian. Kanoon Farhangi Amouzesh is a national institute that assists students preparing to participate in the highly competitive annual entrance exam that is mandatory for students aiming to enter the university of their choice.