Social media’s influence on pop culture and society as a whole seems to increase with each passing year. Whether by chance or by design, the conversations started by, hosted on and targeting social networks have become just as vital as traditional media and communication tools, proving time after time that there is indeed power in posting.
2014 was filled with too many social media highs and lows to compile for one list, but here are four events that got the world talking, sharing and liking this year.
Academy Awards Selfie
If you want to send Twitter into a frenzy, a photo with a dozen famous faces will do the trick. During the Academy Awards last March, Ellen Degeneres snapped the selfie that launched three million retweets, making the photo featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jared Leto the most retweeted photo in Twitter history.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
In August of 2013, the ALS Association reported $1.9 million in donations for the year. Between June and August of 2014, they received $31.5 million. So what happened?
Social media happened.
Seemingly overnight, the foundation, which uses funds to combat and raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, became the nonprofit of choice due to the ALS Ice Bucket social media challenge where people would film themselves being doused with ice water before calling out friends (or foes) to either repeat the action or donate to ALS. Celebrities, politicians and every day folks alike all uploaded short videos of themselves taking on the chilling challenge, proving that social media could be used for a good cause.
FIFA World Cup
For soccer fans that couldn’t make it to Brazil for the World Cup in July, social media was the next best thing. From Costa Rica to Croatia, the soaring highs and soul crushing lows of every match was relayed in real-time across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, brining the energy from the tournament online. Sure Germany may have won the whole thing, but Tim Howard’s stellar performance lead to the #ThingsTimeHowardCouldSave meme that made the goalie a viral, and American, sports hero.
And Kim Kardashian
What can we say: Kim gets social media. From the Vogue magazine cover with beau Kanye West that was branded with #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple to her risqué #BreakTheInternet spread in Paper Magazine, Kardashian’s reign as the queen of social media shows no sign of slowing down. Kim may be the runner-up when it comes to having the most followers on Instagram (that goes to Jusin Beiber) but having your wedding kiss be the most liked photo of all time and landing a book down for your selfies are great runner-up prizes.