2014 In Hashtags

Remember how February was all about #sochiproblems? No? Don't panic, we're here with the ten most important hashtags from 2014...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

The Debrief’s Top 10 Hashtags Of 2014 Social Media is the great marker of Generation Y. We spend most waking hours (there’s been research, we swear, but you know already) glued to our phones, checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every other portal available. One way of keeping up with WTF we did this year is by looking at those modern milestones of our wired-up generation, the hashtags. There are hundreds of these micro conversation-gatherers each day, and not all of them relate to One Direction and 5SOS. So here are our most significant of the year. Read them and get misty-eyed and nostalgic for some great moments of digital solidarity that may, or may not have done anything to affect any sort of IRL change.



OK, OK, since throwing a bucket of cold water over our head to raise awareness and not always money for ALS research, we do feel the tiniest bit silly. But the movement not only made money for the cause (some estimates sit at over $100 million) but drew attention to something the tiniest bit light-hearted at a time when there was nothing fun going on in the news. You could have got us to dress pigeons up as sailors and we would have done it for the cheer.

READ MORE: The Ice Bucket Challenge Has Destroyed Your Data Allowance And It's All Facebook's Fault



Though it was important to show solidarity around the issue of more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, (everyone from Malala to Michelle Obama to Cara Delevingne put their weight behind the campaign) the #BringBackOurGirlsmovement didn’t bring any of the girls back. It did, however, put pressure on the Nigerian government to tackle terrorism in its own country and raise awareness of just how severely religious extremism attacks the basic rights of young women

READ MORE: How Clicktivism Can Really Help To #BringBackOurGirls



Russia proudly hosted the Winter Olympics, but unfortunately also hosted some pretty sub-par housing for the most accomplished athletes in the world. Cue toilets right next to each other (with no cubicle door), orange water coming from taps and exposed wires. On the streets of Sochi wasn’t much better, with packs of stray dogs roaming about and grass being spray-painted a brilliant green by diligent Winter Olympics workers. It was pretty lol to see the country not get its shit together after spending months wondering how gay ‘propaganda’ would bring the country into disrepute.

READ MORE: Ask An Adult: Should We Boycott The Sochi Olympics?

**#BreakTheInternet **


Paper magazine decided to use a well-duh-it’s-photographed-and-what photo of Kim Kardashian popping champagne all the way from in front of her, over her head, to splash into a glass atop her bottom to sell loads of copies of a $10 (£6.35) magazine that people might not have otherwise heard of.

READ MORE: The Kim Kardashian Bum Fallout Proves We All Still Seem To Be Threatened By Female Nudity



British supermarkets borrowed that age-old American tradition of flogging televisions at half their price on the day after Thanksgiving (also the last payday before Christmas), sending hundreds of shoppers into a frenzy. They didn’t quite account for the fact people really really like cheap electrical goods, and unfortunately a few arrests had to be made after security wasn’t organised well enough to cope with the demand.

READ MORE: The Black Friday Scuffles Are So Bad The Police Had To Be Called



This is a slogan of the ongoing protests against the prejudices and stereotypes surrounding black people which lead to grand juries refusing to indict American police officers for killing unarmed black people, like Renisha McBride, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Other hashtags around this subject include #Ferguson, where people were reporting on the ground about how police were treating those protesting the killing of local resident Michael Brown, and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown.

READ MORE: Protests In America Overnight As Grand Jury Decide Police Officer Won't Be Charged For Killing Unarmed Michael Brown



Harry Styles favourited a pornstar’s tweet which went along the lines of ‘fave this if you want to lick this’ accompanied with a picture of her, um, fingering herself! Cue legions of Styles’ fandom, somehow thinking that butter wouldn’t melt in that cheeky wide mouth of his, begging and pleading him to not lick ‘anything’. It’s a shame because we really don’t think cunnilingus gets enough of a good rep.

READ MORE: Harry Styles* Fan Fiction To Become Actual Film



The Fappening was a ridiculous event when hackers leaked loads of images of celebrities naked. Private, intimate photos they had taken and not realised had automatically backed up to the Cloud. Some wiseguys over at 4Chan – where the leaks were announced – decided to use the fact so many young women idolise Jennifer Lawrence (she’s the biggest action star of the year, fact fans) to get them to strip and upload photos in solidarity. Some of these people even created fake profiles of naked girls so they could get the #Leak4JLaw hashtag going. However, a load of guys of all shapes and sizes decided to do their ugliest poses, take a selfie then upload them to Twitter, which meant anyone hoping for a shot to wank off to was met with the ultimate boner-kill. How’s that for solidarity?

READ MORE: We Surfed Around 4Chan So You Don't Have To



After Elliot Rodger created an anti-woman manifesto (he also professed a hatred for all men who got to sleep with women, because he was jealous they were getting something he felt entitled to) and went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, some women on Twitter were upset about it. Not only had six people needlessly died (he turned the gun on himself afterwards) and 13 been injured, but Rodger was – for some – the product of a society that teaches men that they are entitled to women’s attention, bodies and sex. Many men responded with the hashtag #NotAllMen, explaining how not every single man is this sort of douchebag. It was interesting, but we figure if people spent as much time looking into tackling dodgy cultural norms rather than shouting ‘oh but it wasn’t ME who did it’, more progress could be made. The response to #NotAllMen was #YesAllWomen, where they spoke about how, while not every single man is sexist, or indeed on the verge of a murderous rampage, every woman will face some sort of sexism or misogyny in her life.

READ MORE: Now The War Around #Yesallwomen Is Playing Out On Wikipedia

#whyistayed + #whyileft


In May, video footage emerged of Ray Rice, an American NFL player, pulling his passed-out fiancée Janay Palmer out of an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel on Valentine’s Day. The NBA did nothing about this. However, in September, video footage from inside the lift emerged. In this, you see what happened – Janay was hitting Ray, but he then punched her into the wall of the lift, knocking her out. Debates raged on between sports officials about how long the NFL should suspend him for. At first they gave him two weeks. Preposterous, right? So they banned him indefinitely. Then he won an appeal and he is back playing football.


As for Janay? Well, she’s now Janay Rice, as she married Ray. Which led to people wondering why the hell she stayed. This was where the hashtags got super-interesting. Because survivors of domestic abuse used this conversation as an opportunity to explain the different reasons why they stayed in violent relationships, showing that it’s not their fault if they do. Then, to add to that, possibly to counter it, people started #whyileft, speaking about how they got out of an abusive relationship, finally giving this story a positive spin.

READ MORE: #Whyistayed And #Whyileft Are Important In Adjusting Our Attitudes To Domestic Violence

** Follow Sophie on Twitter @Sophwilkinson**

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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