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December 27, 2017

It’s almost time to shut down 2017 and I couldn’t be happier.  This last year brought us all much joy, from the amazing new streaming series Runaways to the full middle-class acceptance of Instagram Stories.   Personally, I cannot wait to see what new and exciting adventures the world of social and digital have in store for us in 2018.  With that in mind, let’s review my choices (in no particular order) for biggest moments in 2017 Social Media.

Facebook & Fake News

Sure, this story has been beaten harder than the Phillies this year, but we have to acknowledge its lasting moment in history.  For those of you who were living under a rock:

After the election in November, Facebook was blamed for all of those fake news stories going viral, potentially influencing countless voters. Facebook king Mark Zuckerberg initially scoffed at the possibility, but mounting evidence showed that sophisticated (but not really criminal) use of the social platform had proven successful for certain political organizations. Because Facebook’s algorithm determines what its individual users want to see, people often see only that which confirms their existing beliefs, regardless of whether the information being shared is true.  So yes, your Grandma probably got more then her share of Lock Her Up memes. 

 

In the lead-up to the French election Facebook targeted 30,000 fake accounts, partnered with newsrooms to debunk false claims and ran full-page ads in French newspapers with a guide for spotting fake news.  Facebook has also applied parts of this strategy to the U.S., Germany and this week in the U.K.  This whole hullabaloo confirms that social platforms are going to have a more and more sway in our political discourse.

#MeToo

After the exposure of Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein’s serial sexual harassment and abuse, actress Alyssa Milano influenced social media users to speak up if they were survivors of sexual harassment or assault.

Women across the world — including McKayla MaroneyAnna Paquin and Debra Messing — shared their experiences and #MeToo soon started trending.

Many credited Milano with launching the hashtag movement, but it was really started by activist Tarana Burke.  In 2007, Burke, a survivor of sexual violence herself, was working in Philadelphia with young women of color who had been victimized by sexual violence. Looking for a way to let them know that they weren’t alone, she told them: “Me too.”

Other hashtags have organically developed that journal deep interconnected human tragedy, like #WhyIStayed or #WhyILeft.  But #MeToo clearly has shaken the world and become part of the culture in away none of us knew we needed.

Call Jesus

I will let this viral video speak for itself. Beyond cute.  Give these kids their own television show. Perhaps in place of Megan Kelly! (CC: NBC Universal)

Representative Maxine Waters

You can’t deny that President Trump is a gifted social media practitioner.  He’s good. He knows how to use social in an emotional way to achieve his goals.  But if your personal politics don’t jibe with POTUS, then may I present to you the current Queen of the Resistance, the Princess Leia to Donald’s Emperor: Representative Maxine Walters.

I didn’t know I needed her in my life until she came for me! If you consider yourself a fan of politics, or simply a fan of good writing, then you should be following Auntie Maxine. She’s taking people down and taking names doing it.  She is one of California’s Congresswomen, a Democrat, a member of the Black Caucus and a woman not afraid to speak her mind.  

When she isn’t serving as the counterweight to our #MAGA pals in the White House, she’s also developing new hashtags like #BlackWomenAtWork that quickly went viral.

Live Tweeting A Takedown

I become insanely envious of folks who live tweet anything good. Nothing happens of any interest in my life! I especially love airport or airplane live tweeting. It’s always juicy and slightly claustrophobic.  This year’s BEST involves two women who had decided to fly cross-country to catch their husbands cheating on them.  

Oh sweet schadenfreude!  All the pathos: broken hearts, coming-out-of-the-closet, drunk Moms, cross-country travel, new friends!  Thankfully, this terribly private and difficult dramatic moment was completely live-tweeted by BJ Colangelo, who should be given an award for her eavesdropping abilities.  

In 2017 gay is okay, but cheaters get caught by tweeters!  

Don’t you wonder how it worked out?  

And there is ONE social media moment of mayhem that can’t be put into any list, but has to be given its own, special, BONUS, EXTRA attention….

Fyre Festival

This debacle is a 2017 gem that we must cherish forever.  Organized by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule as a “luxury music festival”, this Millennial-nonsense was promoted on Instagram by Kendall JennerBella HadidEmily Ratajkowski and a slew of other “social media influencers” whom did not initially disclose they had been paid to do so! Which is just a tiny violation of federal law.

Felonies aside, during the Fyre Festival’s inaugural weekend, the event experienced problems related to security, food, accommodations and artist relations. BASICALLY EVERYTHING.  And that is when the real fun began, as attendees began to life-cast their every major melodrama.

I have been in jail. Jail food looks better then that.

The festival was indefinitely postponed after some festival goers had already arrived; where they found disaster surplus tents instead of Bella Hadid approved luxury villas and prepackaged sandwiches instead of and gourmet meals. Ouch! Fyre went down in flames as it not only roasted its own privileged fan base, but also provided the world with sweet-sweet-sweet moments of bittersweet Haterade.  The organizers are now playing Law & Order: Social Suicide with a platter of eight lawsuits, one seeking more than $100 million in damages.

I could go on and on and on, I really could. Social media is so ingrained in our lives, it seems that everyday there is a new tweet-jacking or social shaming or a good solid put down from Wendy’s twitter handle.  So lets give 2017 one final round of applause, before letting 2018 to the stage.  18, you got big shoes to fill!

 

About the Author

Matthew Ray

Creative Director and Co-Founder of ChatterBlast, Matthew Ray is a fan of comic books, ice cream and sitcoms from the late 1980s.

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