It’s been a busy year for social media slaves like myself. I’ve had fun, been saddened and shocked, and also marvelled at some of the strangest behaviour that a hashtag can instigate (and yes, I’m gutted to say that I took part in one or two myself – I’ll let you guess which). Below, I reflect on some of 2014’s most prolific hashtags.
#neknomination – It only took a couple of weeks of 2014 to discover that mankind hasn’t moved on much in terms of chest beating and buffoning around to dangerous extremes. The craze that saw millions of people downing drinks and telling their mates to do the same actually claimed a few lives. I’ll make a note to check back in in 100,000 years and see if we are still being as stupid.
#nicknomination – Ah, that’s better. Instead of watching my next door neighbour, or the high school idiot sloshing pints of turps down their throats and boasting about it, I now have a timeline awash with hammy Nick Cage pictures. Social media at its most ridiculous, obvious and pointless moments. A bit like one of his films, I guess.
#nomakeupnomination – Ok, we’re a quarter way through the year and STOP NOMINATING ME FOR STUFF ALREADY! Oh. It’s a charity thing. Ok, ok, I’ll do my bit. I even feel compelled to screengrab my donation, to show the world I’m not just using the opportunity to publish a selfie. We all the spent half an hour laughing at the girls on our timelines, who clearly still have lots of makeup on and false eyelashes.
Also, special March shoutouts to the #100happyday folks, who gave up after three days. It’s really ok to be a belligerent old bat like me and not feel obliged to be happy for 100 days solid. Too much, folks, too much.
#Thankyouteacher – an outpouring of social respect for the horrific stabbing of schoolteacher, Ann Maguire. People used the hashtag to say thanks to teachers, who made an impression on them during their schooldays. In April we said thanks to #stephensutton, who made such an impact in his short life. We also raised awareness of the 230 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls through #bringourgirlsback
#ConchitaWurst – In May 2014’s Eurovision Song Contest, we were beguiled and confused by Austria’s Conchita Wurst. With the body of Venus, the hair of Nicole Sherzinger and a face of a beautiful plumber, Conchita’s social gathering helped to collect votes to win the top place in the competition.
#Glastonbury2014 – Usually one can be quite safe from smug Glasto posts, given that the average iPhone has the battery life of a Kardashian marriage. People however have cottoned on and seemingly started to take their prehistoric brick phones away with them to tell us repeatedly of what an amazing time they are having. Even the electrical storms that pulled Rudimental off stage didn’t stop the masses from tweeting about the ‘biblical’ weather. At least given the lack of music at times, our hippies for the week could complain via Twitter about rain in their organic yoghurt. Oh, those yoghurt times. Also of course, June saw England play Italy in the World Cup, which sparked no less than 7.2 million tweets within 90 minutes.
#letour – Being in Yorkshire, the Tour de France in 2014 took over my life for weeks, if not months. We painted the county yellow and I was lucky enough to see both legs of Le Grand Depart whizz past my house in both directions. July was also the month that flight #MH17 disappeared and continues to remain a mystery.
#icebucketchallenge – Off we go then, chucking icy buckets of water over ourselves, this time predominantly for the American ALS charity. We witnessed a horrendous number of mankinis, Benedict Bucketbatch, cringeworthy bucket slip-ups and also the swearing toddler (argh, just no!). Even Professor Stephen Hawking got in on the action and volunteered his children to take the challenge, nobody was safe from this. We also said #ripRobinWilliams in August and baking enthusiasts relished the feud between Diane and Iain on GBBO, aka #bingate, when Diane seemingly sabotaged Iain’s Baked Alaska.
In September, Emma Watson introduced #heforshe, a global responsibility for the promotion of gender equality. You can read about the manifesto here. British Muslims took to social to promote #NotInMyName – a campaign to show a lack of support for ISIS. Women across the world shared their accounts of domestic violence through #whyistayed. In other realms, we saw #stevebruceatweddings and it worked. Too well. Also, we learned of #bendgate, when Apple decided to launch its first pliable phone. Not only is it the size of a coffee table, it also learns the shape of your derriere when it sits in your pocket for too long. What more do you need?
#Pistorius – whether he did (cough cough) or he didn’t shoot his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius charged our October timelines, heckling our macabre sides to guess the punishment he’d receive.
We waited, anticipated and finally John Lewis gave us their ad. #MontyThePenguin even has his own Twitter account that he used to publicly woo his missus, Mabel. Really cute, eh? It’s real love! No sooner were we dabbing our eyes after too much cuddly penguin cuteness, than Marks and Spencer send in their #TwoFairies, spreading altruistic love, expensive party nibbles and queues of tetchy posh people glittering across the land. In other and slightly bigger news, we followed Philae Lander on #CometLanding, as it landed on a comet. That was good.
#illridewithyou – a sad way to end the year, but one that shows how a single hashtag can be adopted by an entire nation, to stick a finger up at terrorism and let those who wear religious attire know that they needn’t feel intimidated by riding public transport. What were your hashtags of 2014?