2015 In Review: The Year In Hashtags
Published 22/12/2015 | 14:29
2015 was a year that was almost defined by social media. Here is a calendar of the most important, impactful and historical hashtags of the year.
January saw the terror attack on the offices of the satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris.
The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie sparked a global show of support from people around the world, and Charlie Hebdo printed three million copies in response to the attack, their biggest print run in history.
#CharlieHebdo was the third top news trend globally for 2016.
In February, an innocent Facebook post about a dress started a worldwide debate about whether it was black and blue or white and gold. Four million people argued over the colour of the dress with the hashtag #TheDress coming in as the ninth most-tweeted hashtag of the year. (4.4m tweets) #BlueandBlack and #WhiteandGold also trended during the debate.
In March, Zayn Malik left One Direction and the month was dominated by fans, band members and news media outlets dealing with the news.
Harry Styles had the most-retweeted tweet of the year, reading simply "All the love as always. H", which was retweeted over 748,000 times.
In April, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, which had actually begun in 2013, became interlinked in the media with unrest in Baltimore, Maryland following the death of Freddie Gray.
Gray died in prison and there was widespread looting after his funeral. Three people were shot, six arrested, four police cars damaged and several items set on fire during the looting.
The hashtag, which had actually begun in 2013 in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown, now represents a wider movement in America - a backlash against police brutality. It was used over nine million times in 2015.
In May, Ireland held a referendum on same sex marriage which was passed with a historical, landslide vote.
The hashtag #MarriageEquality was used around the world throughout 2015 as the issue was dealt with internationally, being made legal in Ireland and all 50 US states.
However, poignantly for Ireland, Irish emigrants returned in their droves from their international destinations and shared their journeys using #HomeToVote. The hashtag was deemed so notable that Twitter had it stencilled on the walls of their Dublin offices. It was used over 72,000 times.
#MakeGraTheLaw evolved into #MadeGraTheLaw and #GraIsTheLaw after the result while #MarRef was the top Irish Twitter trend of 2016 with over 400k tweets sent after the polls opened alone.
On June 26th, the US followed Ireland's example and legalised same-sex marriage in all 50 US States. #LoveWins trended worldwide after the decision by the US Supreme Court. Barack Obama secured the fourth-most retweeted tweet of the year when he used the hashtag to describe the decision as a "big step in our march toward equality".
Also in June, the women's football world cup generated over nine billion impressions for tweets with the hashtag #FifaWWC, making it one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
Lastly, Bruce Jenner was officially revealed as Caitlyn Jenner on the front cover of June's Vanity Fair magazine. She broke a world record for the fastest account to reach 1m followers on the platform, reaching the milestone in just four hours and three minutes. Caitlyn's reveal was the tenth most tweeted about moment of the year, using the hashtag #CallMeCaitlyn.
In July, NASA came the closest they have ever come to the surface of Pluto, successfully completing a 'flyby'.
Over 1 million tweets were sent using #PlutoFlyby and the news that the small aircraft had come within 7750 miles of the surface spawned thousands of memes, with the below being arguably the most 'viral'.
Also in July, an African-American woman named Sandra Bland(28) died in police custody, raising more questions of police brutality. The hashtag #SandraBland was the tenth top Twitter trend of 2015.
Lenny Kravitz(51) accidentally flashed his penis in August following a wardrobe malfunction at his concert in Stockholm at the beginning of the month. He addressed it on Twitter using the hashtag #Penisgate by sharing a screenshot of a text convo with Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler in which they joked about the incident.
Also in August, biologist Anne Hilborn and her colleagues at the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech began adding pictures of animal genitalia to the Wildlife Habitat and Population Analysis Lab (WHAPA) Twitter account. As more photos were added, one of their followers called it a Junk-off and #JunkOff was covered in news media outlets around the world.
The same month, Burger King offered to team up with McDonald's for #WorldPeaceDay and were spectacularly rejected by the fast food chain. Soon Denny's and a number of other burger joints jumped on board to raise money for charity and the proposed 'McWhopper' became the 'Peace Day Burger', extended to Denny's, Wayback Burgers, Krystal and Giraffas.
In September, a young American teenager was arrested for bringing a homemade clock into school. Texan schoolboy Ahmed Mohammed had been reported by his teacher after she mistook the clock for a bomb.
More than 370,000 tweets were sent in solidarity using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. President Obama tweeted his support before inviting Ahmed to the White House. Ahmed later joined Twitter and now boasts 113,000 followers.
Also in September, over 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Britain to "take it's fair share" of refugees as the crisis worsened. #RefugeesWelcome was used on Twitter to share the campaign and encourage governments around Europe to accept more refugees.
The Rugby World Cup was held in Great Britian in October, with England v Australia being the most-tweeted about match of the tournament.
During the Ireland game against France, Irish rugby legend Paul O'Connell's career came to an end due to a hamstring injury and over 27,000 tweets were sent with the hastag #ThanksPaulie.
In November, there was a terrorist attack on Paris in which 158 people were killed. #ParisAttacks was used to get information out about what was happening and #PrayForParis was used in mourning for those that died.
Part of the co-ordinated attack involved gunfire at a concert and a number of restaurants on the streets of Paris. Twitter users used the hashtag #PorteOuverte to advertise their homes as a port of refuge.
A week later, Brussels police asked citizens not to share any their movements on social media as they were involved in an anti-terrorism operation attempting to capture suspects of the Paris attacks.
Belgian Twitter users politely complied - but decided that silence wasn't quite as appealing as misdirection. The movement, being referred to as 'cat cover', saw people across the world join in the fun by sharing their cat pictures with the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown, which trended worldwide.
Days later, the Sun carried a front page headline which read '1 in 5 Brit Muslims' sympathy for jihiadis', which sparked a reaction on Twitter using the hashtag #1in5Muslims, where Twitter users made a mockery of the Sun's claims with funny tweets.
Also in November, the Oxford Dictionary announced that their #WOTY (Word Of The Year) was to be the most-tweeted emoji of 2015, the face with tears of laughter.
In December, women in Saudi Arabia cast their votes for the first time ever after a change in the country's laws. They took to Twitter with the hashtag #RightToVote to share 'voting selfies', celebrating the momentous occasion.
978 women ran as candidates in the historic elections and at least 20 were elected.
In November, #StormClodagh battered Ireland and in December, #StormDesmond hit Ireland, resulting in flooding, storm damage and the most viral sensation of the year - RTE reporter Teresa Mannion.
#Syria and #Gaza were the fourth and fifth biggest news trends worldwide for the year.
2015 is being described as the 'Year of The Emoji' with the Oxford Dictionary #WOTY being an emoji. The 'face with tears of laughter' scooped the accolade and was also the most-tweeted emoji on the platform this year.
In February, legendary Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy passed away and his final tweet was retweeted over 276,000 times.
The #iPad was the most-tweeted about technology, followed by #Soundcloud and #Android.
In 2015, Katy Perry retained the crown of the most followed person on Twitter with 78.3 million followers. She had previously overtaken the then-king of Twitter Justin Bieber in 2013.
Taylor Swift scooped four of the top ten most-liked Instagram posts of the year while emerging social queen Kylie Jenner took both the most-liked post and the crown of most-followed on the platform, overtaking her sister Kim Kardashian.
Every member of One Direction boasted a tweet in the top ten most-retweeted tweets of the year.
Top Ten Trends of 2015