They say you can judge a generation based on the books they read, the music they like or the clothes they wear. Our generation, however, judges a year by its social media trends. Here are the most important social media trends that actually, as they say, “broke the Internet” in 2014.
1. The Ice Bucket Challenge
Almost everyone we knew this year was nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge: dump a bucket of cold water on your head or donate $100 to ALS research. There was a lot of controversy about if the trend actually educated people about the disease, but it did raise millions for the cause, and it definitely contributed entertaining videos to our News Feeds. Plus, it was pretty cool to see celebrities like Oprah join in the trend!
2. Alex From Target
We think it’s safe to say that Alex, a 16-year-old Target employee, had no idea what was coming when a girl tweeted this picture of him. The picture went viral, and Alex appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, hesitant and somewhat skeptical of his new fame. Who says that working retail can’t be glamorous?
3. Cat Circles
When a Reddit user realized that cats love sitting in makeshift circles, it started a full-fledged Internet phenomenon. We love these photos and videos of cats thinking that they can’t escape the circle of tape around them. How can you not love them? They just seem to be saying, “Help me! I’m stuck! Why are you laughing?”
4. The Ellen Selfie
Thank you, Ellen, for taking this perfect picture at this year’s Oscars. With over 3 million retweets and 2 million favorites, it’s safe to say that anyone remotely near the Twittersphere laid eyes on this beautiful use of the selfie. Can we handle all of the talent and beauty in this one picture? Nope, probably not.
5. When Beyoncé and Jay-Z Met Kate Middleton and Prince William
We were so happy when Queen Bey and Jay met Prince William and Kate Middleton at a Brooklyn Nets game. Bless the NBA for existing for the sole purpose of bringing these two royal families together.
6. Justin Bieber’s Mug Shot
Drag racing under the influence and resisting arrest brought this pop icon to the slammer, but he looked pretty happy about it. Justin Bieber broke the Internet this year when his cheery mug shot went viral, even appearing at Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On The Run Tour.
7. Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine cover
The image that inspired countless memes, Kim K’s Paper Magazine cover pretty much achieved its goal of breaking the Internet. Say what you want about Kim’s decision to bare it all for the mag, but you can’t deny that balancing a champagne glass on your posterior is a pretty impressive feat.