Led by the late Michael Jackson and the vampire-driven "Twilight" series, Yahoo's Top 10 Searches for 2009 show that penny-pinching consumers are escaping to the Web "to pursue news and their guilty pleasures," according to a Yahoo search trend analyst.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) came in third on this year's list of Top 10 Overall Searches for 2009, rising celebrity Megan Fox landed in fourth place, and Britney Spears came in fifth.
Rounding out Yahoo's top ten this year were, in consecutive order, Naruto, American Idol, Kim Kardashian, NASCAR, and Runescape.
To me, the celebrity orientation of this year's Internet searches seems almost reminiscent of how, during the Great Depression, people found their escapes in movie magazines and lavish musical entertainment
But Vera Chen, a Yahoo Search trend analyst, also acknowledges that during the current deep recession, "with economic uncertainty looming, people looked for ways to find stability by searching the Web."
Accordingly, Yahoo's "Top 10 Economy-Related Searches for 2009" include coupons, Stimulus Plan, student loans, and foreclosures, for example.
As many of us already know, however, sales of mobile devices stood out as one big bright spot on 2009's bleak economic canvas.
"Mobile devices emerged as essential and indispensable to the lives of many Americans," according to a Yahoo press release. Thus, Yahoo has also put together a list of the Top 10 Mobile Searches for 2009.
Some members of the overall Top 10 list - such as Megan Fox and Michael Jackson - also made the mobile list, although others - including WWE and Kim Kardashian - did not.
Those searching the Web from their mobile phones were also particularly interested in Lady Gaga, the NFL, and - not at all surprisingly - Mobile Games.
What will Yahoo's Top 10 list look like for the year 2010? Hopefully, the economy will have turned the corner a bit. For one thing, maybe consumers will be able to forego some of their searches for coupons and the like.