This past April, the late great Jack Layton described Stephen Harper’s crime policies as a “hashtag fail”. Many Canadians most likely responded, “what’s a hashtag?” Well, according to Twitter, the hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet, all indicated by the symbol #. Here are ten of 2011’s most hyped hashtags.
Maria Shriver is mostly known for her connection to the Kennedy family, and her (now terminated) marriage with the Governator but on Twitter she is tied to the wildly popular trending topic turned hashtag #threewordstoliveby. Containing your life’s motto to three words is exactly the condensed, all encompassing message that Twitter was created for. In her original tweet, Shriver chose “pass it on” as her trifecta, and the hashtag has done just that.
Although I’m sympathetic to Anthony Weiner for the teasing he probably endured as a child over his last name, he is solely to blame for not seeing the irony in tweeting sexually suggestive pictures of himself to women that were most definitely not his wife, all done while he was in Congress. How could he not have known how his situation would play out in the press with all the politicians before him who’ve been caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Well, to be more specific: male politicians. After all, you never saw Laura Bush broadcasting pictures of her namesake.
When Beyonce’s baby bump was unveiled at MTV’s Video Music Awards, the twittersphere went bizerk. And by bizerk I mean the news broke a Twitter record with a meager 8,868 tweets per second. On January 8th, Beyonce gave birth to a baby girl. It took approximately 8,868 tweets until it was confirmed that the baby’s name was, in fact, Blue Ivy Carter, not Ivy Blue Carter; crisis averted.
For all the females reading, allow me to generalize by saying you probably smiled when you read the hashtag. For all the guys, I’ll try to keep the teenage girl-tinged hysteria to a minimum. In 2011, Ryan Gosling went from being an Academy Award-nominated actor to the inspiration for a wealth of Tumblrs driven by the “Hey Girl” meme. Gosling became a feminist, posed with puppies and even pledged his allegiance to libraries all the while starring in Drive, Crazy Stupid Love and The Ides of March; now that’s talent.
Have a complaint but don’t want to make yourself vulnerable to others berating it as insignificant? Draft a tweet, slap on #firstworldproblems and you have yourself a legitimate lambaste on the inconveniences of everyday life that is immediately welcomed into a community of complainers. Case in point:
Got comfy on my couch. Remote is on other side of the room. #firstworldproblems
Whether used ironically or in an affectionate allude to Charlie #tigerblood Sheen, #winning became a catch phrase that echoed from the Internet, memes and everyone’s mouth. It all goes back to the now infamous interview with ABC, previously unknown, journalist Andrea Canning (who would later go on to interview Rebecca opposite-of-white). With a conviction only Charlie Sheen could muster, he turned winning from a plain verb to the singular reaction to an awesome situation. Example? I’ll let Sheen take that one: “Occasionally, you know, a giant marquee name comes through on your caller id, and it’s like, winning!”
In 2011, protestors were occupying almost everything. Bird’s nests, grocery carts and carwashes were the only places left uninhabited. Wait, three new tweets… scratch that, in 2011 protestors occupied everything. The original trending hashag, #occupywallstreet, was linked to the Adbusters-initiated protest on September 17th in New York City and has gone on to challenge the hierarchies of power in government and the corporate world. Criticized for being leaderless, members of the Occupy Denver movement elected three and a half year old Border collie, Shelby. Maybe if Herman Caine had changed his surname to Canine, he’d still be in the race for president. After all, isn’t 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a glorified doghouse as it is?
November 14th, 2011 was a dark day for honourary Greendale students when NBC announced it would place Community on an “indefinite hiatus” to make room in the midseason schedule for television gems like Whitney. Loyal fans, actors of the show and creator Dan Harmon took to Twitter to start a movement. Already popular hashtags like #anniesboobs and #anniesmove were joined by #savecommunity, #occupygreendale #sixseasonandamovie (in an awesome nod to Arrested Development), and my personal favourite #eightseasonsandathemepark (imagine it). As of now, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt confirmed the remaining episode of Season 3 will air in the spring. No word on season four through eight still.
To say 2011 was a time of intense grassroots revolution is an understatement. What began in December of 2010 in Tunisia with a man literally igniting himself as an act of political protest over the corrupt government quickly spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The moniker, the “Arab Spring”, appropriately signified a time of death (in the case of Libyan leader Gaddafi) and the rebirth of some semblance of freedom for the people. Egyptian President Mubarak even temporarily eliminated Internet access so protestors couldn’t use Twitter to organize which only further proved how social media could truly support social change.
U.S. congress really took the cake* for their awe-inspiring rationale that pizza should be considered a vegetable because of its tomato sauce. Excuse me while I go get my daily dose of lycopene by licking the thin layer of sauce that sits between the extra thick crust and copious cheese. It’s bad enough that children can’t recognize an actual tomato from a potato, but now when American school kids go to their cafeteria for lunch, they can get malnourished and a chocolate milk at the same time.
*That’s a vegetable now too.