2015 was a big year for social media, with plenty of momentous events ranging from the widespread adoption of emojis to the first truly social election. Here are eight of the biggest social media moments of the year…
1. The dress
Who can forget #thedress? In the space of a day one seemingly innocuous dress sparked over 4.4 million tweets, with the whole world debating whether it was #blueandblack or in fact #whiteandgold.
Despite widespread discussion, the debate was never fully settled, but from analysis of posts on the platform, Facebook found that a slight majority (58%) saw it as white and gold.
2. Paris attacks
Viral sensations on social media can range from fun and frivolous to sad and serious. In the case of the latter, the terrorist attacks on Paris were two of the biggest global stories on social media this year. After the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in January, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie trended around the world; later #PrayforParis would be used the world over to show support after the larger second attack in the city.
3. Same-sex marriage
Another big story across the world – and of course on social media – was the legalisation of same-sex marriage in several countries, including Ireland, America, Mexico and Japan. Following the US ruling, 26 million people added a rainbow filter to their profile picture to celebrate and show their support.
4. UK General Election
The UK general election was the most discussed topic on Facebook in the UK this year (followed by the Labour Leadership Election). Thousands took to social networks to declare that they had voted, while other popular talking points were dogs at polling stations and Paddy Ashdown’s hat.
5. Caitlyn Jenner
Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner broke records in 2015 by reaching a million followers on Twitter just over four hours after joining.
6. Year of the emoji
2015 was the year of the emoji, so much so that the Oxford Dictionary named the “face with tears of joy” emoji as their “word of the year”. One survey found that emojis are now used by 92% of the online population, and the tears-of-joy emoji was the most popular of all, used in 20% of all emoji uses.
7. The return of Star Wars
The brand making the biggest splash on social media was Star Wars, with the new film making the “most discussed” lists on both Twitter and Facebook.
8. Taylor Swift vs Apple
Taylor Swift demonstrated the power of social media (especially if you have millions of followers) by sharing an open letter to Apple on her social channels. This led to Apple reversing their decision to not pay artists for songs played during the free trial of their new Apple music service.
On to 2016’s social media…
So that was 2015; we’re looking forward to seeing what 2016 holds. Will 2016 be the year of social video, and what will be the viral sensation of next year? Only time will tell…