Nov 01 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.
1 min til its 12…..STRANGER THINGS HERE I COME
— Im FErr,, BiHhh (@Ferloveskpop) October 27, 2017
I’m pulling an all-nighter for stranger things….. but like can it hurry
— zachary🍂 (@DenobregaZach) October 27, 2017
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.
EPISODE 7 IS THE BEST EPISODE OF #StrangerThings
— ✨thankful thot🍁✨ (@MamaCrock3tt) October 30, 2017
Unpopular opinion: ep 7 of s2 of stranger things was awesome. I loved Kali. While it did mess up the pacing it was still one of the best eps
— Fen (@fenyaken) October 29, 2017
And others…well, let’s just say that the episode wasn’t widely well received.
when can we talk about episode 7 of stranger things 2 being the absolute worst
— Justin Davis #AShow (@OGJOHNNY5) October 30, 2017
@Stranger_Things WTF was episode 7? Didn't even feel like the same show. Stick with Hawkins.
— Josh Kotsabasakis (@TheKotsabulous) October 30, 2017
I'd rather watch a whole episode about Steve's hair routine than the waste of time that was episode 7 of Stranger Things
— 🌹 (@wtvsbia) October 29, 2017
#StrangerThings is amazing but this episode about The Lost Sister is stupid and I want it to die. Take me back to Hawkins, you assholes
— Patrick Taggart (@patricktaggart1) October 31, 2017
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.
— GTN ASMR (@MisterGagou) October 31, 2017
If I were a Stranger Things character I would be Dustin. 100%. He curses all the time and makes stupid emotional decisions. = Me.
— Hessa (@HessaHumood) October 31, 2017
i’m already raising my blood pressure at the thought of future stranger things seasons splitting up mike and eleven
— liv / st spoilers (@fadedsaturn) October 31, 2017
Halfway through Stranger Things and is Max going to have any character traits other than a couple boys have a crush on her?
— rosie (@rshestak) October 31, 2017
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.
Didn't like s1 Steve but he's grown on me this season. Can't believe he's one of my faves now. I love character development. #StrangerThings
— san (@clarkemione) November 1, 2017
Can Dustin and Steve have their own spin-off? #StrangerThings
— Maggie Huynh (@maggiehuynh) October 31, 2017
— Melanie Smith (@melaniiesmiith) October 30, 2017
Is anyone else not feeling the jonathan/Nancy thing? #StrangerThings
— Brett O Shea (@SheaOfTomorrow) October 30, 2017
Me: I’ll never be attracted to someone with a mullet
Dacre Montgomery as Billy from Stranger Things: first of all… pic.twitter.com/CPmkweDT4g
— Rox🌙✨ (@RoxanneEvelyn) October 31, 2017
This Billy character on the new season of Stranger Things is such an asshole. So naturally I’m super in to him.
— Kelsey Sutton (@Sutton_IsAHabit) October 31, 2017
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.
Stranger Things Spoiler alert 🚨: how did we not see Bobs death coming, like his name is literally the boy version of Barb. I SEE YOU DUFFERS
— tristini linguini (@bart_e_ski) October 31, 2017
Bob resettin breakers like GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE! #StrangerThings2
— Zach Gorddard (@ZGorddard) November 1, 2017
Wiona Ryder in stranger things is ultimate mom goals I am in love
— kd (@y0locaust) October 31, 2017
— Vintage Daddy (@AfroJediii) October 31, 2017
— Joanne Russell (@JojoMaryRussell) October 31, 2017
im not saying that Hopper is the hottest character in Stranger Things but Hopper is MOST DEF the hottest character in Stranger Things
— jasminne (@tyronehunnibi) October 31, 2017
Hopper and Joyce better be dating next season #StrangerThings
— thalia 🦖 (@thaliafreddie9) October 30, 2017
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.
The scariest thing about Stranger Things is that none of the parents notice that their kids are gone for days.
— Giulia Rozzi (@GiuliaRozzi) November 1, 2017
Petition to have Steve, Joyce, and Hopper co-parent all the kids of Stranger Things, because clearly the rest of their parents give no shits
— Olivia Buickerood (@LivBuickerood) October 31, 2017
The true villain of Stranger Things is Mike and Nancy's dad.
— 🦈ＴＨＥ ＳＣＡＲＥＳＨＡＲＫ🦈 (@Sane_Intolerant) October 31, 2017
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.
Best way to spend your Halloween ? Finish #StrangerThings2 … Gremlins meets Akira meets the Warriors… God I love this show
— Paul Elliot (@paul_elliot4) October 31, 2017
Only a true Goonies fan would get all those references in Stranger things #StrangerThings
— ST (@shobz) October 31, 2017
The Goonies meets X-Men meets Jurassic Park meets The Walking Dead meets Evolution meets The Exorcist = #StrangerThings2
— Cassidy Davis (@Cassidy_Davis) October 31, 2017
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.
— Cosplay Snugglz (@cosplaysnugglz) November 1, 2017
“No my costume isn’t a ghostbuster. I’m dressed as one of the stranger things kids in their ghostbusters costume. How stupid are you?”
— Luke Schwartz 🍅 (@LukeDoesStuff) October 31, 2017
— Lilredrubi (@lilredrubi74) October 31, 2017
— Veronica (@millsmylove) October 31, 2017
— Kay Evans (@KayEvansCA) October 30, 2017
Next year, every ginger girl is going to dress up as Mad Max for Halloween lol #StrangerThings2
— Chrissy Cifelli (@chrissycifelli) October 29, 2017
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.
My favorite thing right now are the Stranger Things character playlists on Spotify. They’re so heckin good
— Just Rose (@HyperCrackBunny) October 31, 2017
i cannot believe my stranger things character playlist has treat you better in it spotify really knows me
— jasmine 🥀 (@winchesteruin) October 31, 2017
— valeria (@val_mc87) October 31, 2017
Mad Max’s sk8 sessions. Filled with early 80s punk. I am v happy with this https://t.co/rknOrpMfOl
— Neil Harrington (@neilharrington9) November 1, 2017
FUUUUNNN!!! I got matched with Eleven's Breakfast Jams. Also, completely unsurprising that you got Jonathan.
— Kristin Latourelle (@kristin_lat) October 30, 2017
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?