Keeping a Pulse on Stranger Things: A Look at Trends in Social Conversation

This post contains spoilers for Season 2 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” We warned you.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Season 2 of the acclaimed Netflix show, “Stranger Things,” premiered Friday, October 27. If you didn’t spend the weekend bingeing the latest installment like me, it’s become almost impossible to avoid articles, conversation, and spoilers related to the show, as online conversation surrounding the show has blown up in the last week. With over 3M mentions on Twitter in the last week alone, we decided to take a deeper dive into the Stranger Things fandom to see what audiences thought about the recent season.

Stranger Things Social Conversation Timeline

Looking at a sample of mentions from October 25 – October 31, it’s clear that audiences were waiting for the new season with bated breath. Conversations around the show began to peak at 3AM EDT on 10/27. Fans were READY.

And once they started their binges, they didn’t stop.

The rush to get through the series quickly was apparent from the level of conversation broken out per hour – by October 27 at 4PM, about as many people were talking about starting the first episode as there were people hitting the halfway point at Episode 5. The first sincere mentions of people wrapping up the season came in around 1PM on October 27.

Ultimately each episode saw consistent coverage, with episode 1 generating the most conversation. Episode 7: The Lost Sister also saw a bit of an uptick.

Episode 7 – We’re Not in Hawkins Anymore

Episode 7 was a polarizing one, contributing to increases in conversation. As a refresher, The Lost Sister brought Eleven back in touch with Kali (also known as Eight), and introduced a very 80’s misfit punk crew, as well as Eleven’s new “bitchin’” look.

Stranger Things fans had a LOT to say about this episode. Some loved the departure from the weird world of Hawkins for a bit, showing love to newcomer Kali and appreciating the character development.

And others…well, let’s just say that the episode wasn’t widely well received.

This episode marked the first of the series to generate such a negative positive sentiment on social overall, with the majority of the audience expressing dissatisfaction with the different feel overall. So much for an “Eight: Kali’s Revenge” spinoff.

Who’s Your Favorite Character?

This season brought about a host of new characters, and added to fan favorites. Not surprisingly, Eleven and Will led the majority of online conversations this month, as both Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp shone in their roles. In addition, newcomer dad-joke Bob saw a lot of love from audiences on social, while Steve’s newfound big brother/babysitter role got people talking.

Segmenting characters a bit further, we get a better idea of what audiences thought. Looking at “The Party” (minus Eleven), Will drove the lion’s share of mentions as a central character with strong acting chops. Further development of Dustin’s character, as well as his unexpected friendship with Steve, increased mentions of his character from the first season. People continued to fawn over Mike and Eleven’s relationship. Oddly enough, Lucas and Max drove the fewest mentions within the Party, with audiences cooling a bit to Max’s introduction.

When we look at the teenagers, Steve was the clear fan favorite this season, with audiences loving his character’s transformation. Audiences were torn about Nancy and Jonathan’s relationship, with many fans arguing whether or not the couple belonged together. Fans still couldn’t let go of Barb (#RIPBarb). And Billy’s character was probably the most polarizing this season – fans hated his character, but trends in conversation indicated that a lot of viewers loved his bad-boy, heavy metal looks.

Conversations around the adults on the show saw some interesting trends this season – Bob may have lost to the demodogs, but won fans’ hearts (even beating out Barb for saddest death). Joyce got props from fans for being #momgoals and continuing to slay with her interior decorating. Hopper’s character development also earned him a lot of new fans this season – between memes of his dancing, fans shipping him and Joyce, and people loving him in general (the thirst was real), Hopper definitely stood out in conversations.

Speaking of parents, I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only person wondering why most of the parents on this show were either nonexistent or incredibly negligent.

Pop Culture References and Influence

One of the most pervasive themes in social conversation this season was the different 80’s influences that were sprinkled throughout the show. Whether it was Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park, St. Elmo’s Fire or Firestarter, fans of the show loved to call out their favorite references.

As would be expected, the show’s success and release date so close to Halloween also influenced today’s pop culture references. Mentions around fans using the show’s characters as inspiration for Halloween costumes were everywhere. Some of the most prevalent costumes? Bitchin’ Eleven, Steve, Barb, and Joyce’s wall from Season 1.

Brand Winners

In order to piggyback off of Stranger Things buzz this year, Spotify collaborated with the show to release a Character Match quiz, matching fans with playlists around different characters in the show based on their music taste. This contributed heavily to social conversations around the show, with audiences excited to share which characters they got, and often agreeing with their matches.

The biggest winner in all this Stranger Things conversation? Netflix. Amazing content sparks passion from consumers, and #Netflix was one of the most prominent themes throughout conversation after the show dropped.

At the end of the day, one of the coolest things about a show like Stranger Things is seeing the fan base binge the series, comment, and spread excitement for the show through social. What were you surprised to see in these conversation trends, and what were your favorite moments from Stranger Things Season 2?

This analysis was performed while utilizing social monitoring tool Brandwatch. All images from the show, credit to Netflix

Ignite Social Media