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Online, Valentine’s Day is the saddest day of the year

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

If you’re the type of person who likes to “celebrate” Valentine’s Day by posting online about how alone you are, you’re in for an ironic surprise: You’re really not alone at all. According to a survey of billions of keyword searches conducted by the GIF search database Tenor, queries for GIFs matching the word “alone” actually exceed searches about love and romance on Valentine’s Day.

Tenor found that searches for “alone” skyrocket on the annual holiday, even more than searches for more predictable keywords like “love” and “kiss.”

Not only that, but Valentine’s Day, more than any other day of the year, sees the most spikes, collectively, for a litany of glum words — including “sad,” “crying,” and “lonely.”

Meanwhile, searches for “eyeroll” also jump by 441 percent, apparently because no bout of self-deprecating commentary could possibly be complete without also judging the happiness of others.

Tenor reports the most popular “alone” GIF of the day is the Sad Spongebob Squarepants GIF shown above, while the most popular GIF for “love” is this Minion kiss (because apparently happy people have bad taste). So keep those frontrunners in mind as you digitally proclaim your love — or lack of it — this year.

And for those of you who are dwelling in your single status, take heart: You may not be looking forward to a day full of love and romance, but perhaps you can find solace in the self-mockery that, on Valentine’s Day, makes you less alone in your aloneness than ever.

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