If you rolled your eyes, yelled at your laptop, threw your phone out the window of a moving bus, or just got otherwise annoyed by stories about “quiet quitting” over the last few weeks, consider yourself in good company.
New data shared with Fast Company from the analytics firm Sprout Social reveals that social media chatter around the TikTok-driven term has been overwhelmingly negative, even as it racked up some 2.18 billion potential impressions across major social platforms.
Here’s how “quiet quitting” performed on Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and the broader internet from August 2 to 30, according to Sprout Social’s data:
- 190.2K mentions from 150.54K unique authors
- 1.92M total engagements (includes likes, dislikes, comments, and shares)
- 2.18B potential impressions
- 12% positive
- 8% neutral
- 80% negative
Quiet quitting generally refers to the phenomenon of workers refusing to go above and beyond at their jobs. Although the concept itself is not new, the term seems to have struck a unique chord with the reading public. After it appeared in a few viral videos on TikTok last month, it was picked up by the mainstream media and spread like wildfire from there. It has since inspired countless explainers, how-tos, hot takes, takedowns, and you name it. However, as Sprout Social’s data reveals, many of those stories were likely getting their share of hate clicks.
Of course, the sentiment data doesn’t tell us why it was negative. It could be that readers were angry at companies for the unfair power dynamic that breeds low workplace morale, or maybe they were annoyed by what they perceived as laziness on the part of the quiet quitters themselves. It could also be—and surveys back this up—that a good number of readers are just instinctively irritated by the latest workplace buzzwords.
Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that quiet quitting was a truly viral affair. According to Sprout Social’s data, social-media volume around the topic increased 14,000% during a two-week period beginning August 17. “This is a tremendous spike, only seen in wildly viral, sticky movements,” says Mike Blight, the firm’s senior market research and insights manager. “The term ‘quiet quitting’ clearly tapped into a cultural feeling and quickly turned into a trending topic.”
The quick increase in chatter is a testament to the power of TikTok as a driver of national conversations that take on a life of their own. Compare quiet quitting to, say, the Great Resignation—another workplace term that dominated discourse recently—and you can clearly see that the latter was a much slower burn, at least if 12 months’ worth of Google Trends data are to be believed.
At the same time, you have to wonder if the rapid emergence of quiet quitting indicates that the term will fizzle out and disappear from our collective conversations just as quickly. If so, not to worry—the next ubiquitous workplace buzzword is surely only one viral TikTok video away.