Beyond AI: The key topics captivating Europe’s most influential tech community

It’s been a year since we launched the Tyto Relevance Index™ – a proprietary data-driven insights service that helps us identify the most important issues and themes being discussed among Europe’s most influential tech experts. We’ve shared these findings monthly and summarised insights every quarter on this blog and in our LinkedIn newsletter. And now 12 months on we wanted to share how the Index is a valuable tool for identifying technology and socio-economic trends across Europe.

With a year’s worth of data under our belts from France, Germany, and the UK, this is the first time we’ve really been able to take a longer-term view to identify any patterns that may be emerging. Let’s take a look at what the Index reveals from the past year.

AI has taken over the world of tech

AI & machine learning was the Index’s top tech topic even before the explosive arrival of Large Language Models into the public consciousness in November last year, claiming 24.56% of the online conversation in September 2022. At that time, it was only 8.95 percentage points (pp) ahead of Data economy in second place. However, from November, its share shot up each month to a peak of 40.58% in May of this year, an unprecedented 27.08 pp ahead of second place.

It’s a little too soon to tell where and when this topic will find its new baseline, but it has seemingly started to stabilise at around the 35% mark and approximately 20 – 21 pp ahead of the second placed topic. Time will tell if this holds for the long term but even so, it’s without doubt the most relevant topic among Europe’s most influential tech experts, and we can expect this to continue for quite some time.

We’ve been seeing competition in this area heat up in the market over the last year too, as established businesses and start-ups alike made a priority of convincing people of the effectiveness of their approaches, technologies, and business models. With the competition so fierce, many have found that the biggest opportunity technology has presented to businesses in decades is simultaneously one of its biggest challenges.

How do you possibly cut through all that noise? How do you stay relevant in such a rapidly changing landscape? And how do you convince people on the potential of the technology for your business while managing stakeholder expectations? These are the questions businesses and comms professionals will need to get right with AI set to continue to claim so much of the conversation.

Share of social posts in the pan-European region in the past twelve months 

Climate change keeps ‘peaking’ interest

Whereas tech conversations were dominated by a single topic, it was much more of a two-horse race when it comes to socio-economic issues. Climate change and Geopolitical conflict & instability started in the top positions and traded places several times over the course of the year. They accounted for 19% (Climate change) and 16% (Geopolitical conflict & instability) of all social posts in this category in the past twelve months.

Interestingly though, the conversation around climate change saw two large peaks in the year. The first and largest of these was in November 2022 when COP27 was in full flow for most of the month, seeing the topic claim 22.22% of the conversation across all socio-economic issues we track. The topic settled down to more normal levels of 15-18% following this but peaked again with a 21.54% share in July 2023, as news broke that it was the world’s hottest month on record and scientists agreeing that the extra heat was mainly linked to use of fossil fuels.

As organisations look to persuade people on how to tackle climate change, and to promote their initiatives and technologies effectively, there are clear (and perhaps obvious) moments in time that capture people and the media’s interest. With the right planning, these moments can be targeted – and even created – to maximise the impact of their comms and marketing.

Share of social posts in the pan-European region in the past twelve months 

The fastest rising topics – when will GreenTech’s bubble burst?

For the first time, our data enable us to look at year-on-year (YoY) trends, revealing how the landscape may be changing and which issues are becoming more, or less, relevant across the three markets analysed. The fastest growing tech topic will be no surprise given how we’ve already discussed how AI came to dominate tech conversations online. It grew its share by 12.05 pp YoY – by far and away the fastest rising topic of the last 12 months across technology and socioeconomic issues.

GreenTech was the second fastest growing tech topic, rising 2.76 pp YoY. Unlike its related socioeconomic issue, Climate Change, the last 12 months were not characterised by large peaks. Instead, it saw a steady if slightly bumpy rise from a 6.65% share in September 2022 to 9.41% in September 2023. Last month was the biggest share of conversation that Greentech has seen so far, and we’ll be monitoring whether this marks a peak or continues to rise over the coming months. It’s definitely one to watch.

Privacy & data governance completes the top three rising topics, having grown its share of conversation by 2.05 pp YoY. It followed a similar trajectory to Greentech, starting off its climb from a 4.99% share and steadily growing to 7.04%. However, unlike GreenTech which looks like it could rise further still, Privacy & data governance has dropped slightly from a high of 7.48% in July.

However, with much of the conversation coinciding with major EU legislation agreements – notably with the US on a data privacy framework, and on how industrial data is shared, stored and processed – there is a lot of scope for scrutiny as businesses and privacy groups pore over the details, and get a stronger sense of what this will mean in practice.

In the socioeconomic space, Climate change was the fastest growing topic at 5.7 pp YoY, followed by Transportation at 2.85 pp YoY and Trust at 2.17 pp YoY. Transportation was the fifth most talked about topic when our Index launched last September, but ended this September in third, a position it has held consistently for the last 6 months. Trust had a far more steady track record, typically moving between the tenth and eleventh spots… until last month where it shot up to seventh. We’ll keep an eye on whether this was a one-off or the start of something bigger.  

The fastest falling topics – are we getting over the recession?

Virtualisation fell in relevancy quite significantly over the last year – down 6.81 pp from its relatively high starting position of 10.82% in September 2022. It fell sharply from being the fourth most talked about tech topic in September 2022 to the seventh, as of last month.

DLT & Blockchain was the second biggest faller in the tech space, losing 3.58 pp of its share of conversation YoY. This is interesting by itself but the fact that Crypto was the top falling topic in the socioeconomic space, losing 5.96 pp of its share of the conversation, suggests a bigger trend. Crypto and blockchain are no strangers to waning public interest, but the data suggests we are most certainly in a trough… for now at least.

Another noteworthy fall from relevancy in the socioeconomic category is Recession. The looming threat of which – and technicalities over whether we are experiencing one or not – seems to have dominated our lives and media coverage for what seems like an eternity. Nobody will be sad to see the topic losing relevancy, as it has done from a 7.44% share of conversation in September 2022 to 4.33% in September 2023 (-3.11 pp). We may be done with talk of a recession, but is the recession done with us?

As ever, if you would like to dig into the data yourself, you can access the Tyto Relevance Index™ here. By subscribing, you will be able to view the data and receive our monthly newsletter with the previous month’s highlights in your inbox. We believe that data is an important tool to inform communications campaigns, and the Tyto Relevance Index™ is an excellent way to find out what topics are dominating the social media conversation of hundreds of highly influential tech personalities in Europe.