Top hashtags of 2016!
Nowadays, hashtags create history. And the year has been replete with the biggest trends and topics that went viral under a collection of these hashtags. They were peppered with a mix of news — some tragic, some that bordered on sports and bonhomie, politics, social activism and the economy, and others were about a good, fun-filled challenge. Here are the top hashtags that went on to spark the most conversations and debates. You may have been part of these, too…
A merger of words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’, the term Brexit — where Britain voted to tear itself away from the European Union, went down as one of the year’s biggest historical events. It came about on June 23, when Britain
held a referendum to decide whether the UK should leave or stay in the European Union (EU). A majority (52 per cent) voted to leave the EU and this had a cascading effect — the pound fell dramatically, fuel prices were affected, so was the stock market. David Cameron (who favoured staying with UK) quit and Theresa May took his place as PM.
Another contentious issues arose when a French town banned the burkini — a full body cover worn typically by Muslim women. It drew intense reactions in favour of the garment. Women held a beach party outside London’s French Embassy in protest and the hashtag #BurkiniBan became a powerful comment against prejudice.
In July, a pocket monster game became an overnight craze for millions (our city included). From roads to parks, alleys and even offices, legions of players were seen toting a cellphone trying to snap up squirtles and pidgeys. In Mumbai, it inspired Pokemon walks and bar crawls, too.
After 2015’s #DressGate, where a debate over a dress colour being white or gold stirred up a tweet frenzy, this October another optical illusion took over. An uploaded photo of a woman’s legs that appear shiny to some and oily to others went viral with the question, ‘Do you see oily legs or white paint?’ Folks were divided over their views.
On July 14, 2016, at 10.30 pm, a 19-tonne truck was driven into a crowd who were watching the Bastille Day fireworks at the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The driver ploughed into the gathering, killing 86 and injuring 303.
It started as a racial discrimination protest after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman who fatally shot 17-year-old African American Travyon Martin in 2013 and went on to become one of the most powerful movements. Facebook user Alicia Garza penned a heartfelt letter asking people to come together to ensure that “black lives matter”. Since then, the hashtag became the placard for a marches and civil rights protests against alleged police brutality. It has also been called the most potent slogan since ‘Black Power’, which was made 50 years ago.
This was important especially for India, with women athletes P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar making the country proud as the first two won Olympic silver and bronze respectively. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar missed a medal but gave an exceptional performance in her vault finals.
During the Rio Olympics, when the blue Olympic pool suddenly turned green overnight, it left athletes and the rest of the world dumbfounded. Authorities explained that this happened due to algae and blamed high alkaline levels for the colour change. American swimmer Tom Daley posted a photo of the pool on social media hashtagged #Poolgate and this went viral. It drew a host of zany questions on social media like, ‘Has Shrek taken a dip here?
Donald Trump’s election win on September 11 win sparked a wave of protests across the US. America’s ‘morning after’ saw one of the largest anti-president rallies and marches in Washington, New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago and other cities, as thousands voiced anger fear and over the election results. People waved anti-Trump banners, burnt his effigies as well as the national flag and chanted, ‘No racist USA, no Trump, no KKK’ and ‘Not My President’ became the cry of the night. The hashtag was reportedly used more than 18,000 times in just a few hours.
In October, a newspaper shared a recording where Donald Trump described his physical behaviour towards women in was what termed a ‘disgusting’ manner. Enraged women hit back with the hashtag #pussygrabsback — some shared the hashtag with a picture of snarling cat and others with a snake. The news drew out sexual assault survivors who spoke of their ordeals, Hillary Clinton called his remark ‘horrific’ and musician Kim Boekbinder even created a ‘Pussy Grabs Back’ song with the words, We’re not daughters, not wives / We’re humans, with lives / On November 8th, we’re gonna rock it.”
Called one of the biggest leaks in history, this hashtag stands for the expose on how covert offshore companies across the globe could hide wealth and evade taxes. The Panama Papers — a huge section of documents from a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca — showed how the company laundered money and committed fraud for the rich and famous. Heads of state, business leaders, films stars and politicians were mentioned in them and it threw up reactions galore.
Taking up after the Ice Bucket Challenge was this November’s Mannequin Challenge, a video craze where people imitated mannequins as music played in the background. The videos were uploaded under the hashtag #MannequinChallenge went viral. It got everyone from Michelle Obama to Hillary Clinton, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Paul Mc Cartney, uploading their videos.
The year also saw the passing of some of the biggest names in politics, sports and pop culture — (L-R) Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, Jayalalitha, David Bowie, and a few others. Rest in peace, we say.
On August 6, people started to share images of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers and grandfathers after a “racist” cartoon was published in an Australian newspaper. It created a hashtag that became one of the most important movements of the year — having got 1.8k shares!
November 8 marked one of the biggest financial policy moves for India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of `500 and `1,000 currency notes. The news went viral immediately
and reactions poured in online. As per reports, social media recorded 650,000 tweets in 24 hours post the announcement!