top 10 #hashtags of 2014

It’s the international symbol used more than the pound or dollar sign. In 2014, the hashtag reached iconic status, finally being added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June, making it the new ‘selfie’ of our generation. Used to open conversations on...

by Greg French
24 December 2014, 9:40am

1. #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple
With the aid of Ms Wintour over at Vogue towers, this was the hashtag that, as the words suggest, coincided with the world's most talked about wedding of 2014. Following the announcement of Kimye's wedding last year, the world went into a frenzy in the run up to the event, with speculation surrounding the wedding dress designer, venue and guest list. Shot by photography legend Annie Leibovitz, the Kanye West and Kim Kardashian cover went global, with spoofs closely following from Seth Rogan and James Franco and Kermit and Miss Piggy.

2. #heforshe
Following Emma Watson's powerful speech at the United Nations in September, #HEFORSHE was trending globally, as the actress put her face to the since world-renowned charity. "Men - I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too", she announced, calling to arms celebrities, friends and the mass population. The world responded, with hundreds of leading figures showing their support posting tweets and images with #HEFORSHE, including Harry Styles, David Tennant and Doulas Booth.

3. #icebucketchallenge
The campaign that had everyone talking this year. Social media users were invited to throw a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads, before nominating their nearest and dearest to follow suit. Sounds simple? The campaign fell into hot water over criticism that people weren't donating and that it was all just a mass egotistical stunt. Regardless, the hashtag raised somewhere in excess of $100m for the charity ALS, with the likes of Victoria Beckham and Donatella Versace participating (of course not without the assistance of some scantily-clad models)!

4. #bringbackourgirls
Used over 5 million times following the kidnapping of 223 girls from a boarding school in Nigeria, #bringbackourgirls was a call to arms for leaders the world over. Showing the power of social media, and recruiting the likes of Michelle Obama, the campaign's caption is still in use on twitter until this day. With the girls still missing - can a hashtag be enough to make a difference? Of course! Ensuring the plight of the girls, and those campaigning for their freedom is firmly still in the spotlight, is an important message of solidarity to their captors.

5. #bingate
Whilst not global breaking news, the #bingate saga was one that gripped the mind of the nation for a good two weeks, and just about every major newspaper alongside. Kicking off on BBC2's The Great British Bake Off, of which you should feel no shame in admitting avid fan-ship of, contestant Ian Watters became everyone's office talking point following an Oscar-worthy tantrum. The outburst came about after another contestant allegedly sabotaged his baked Alaska. Having thrown the remnants in the bin, Ian stormed out of Mary Berry's big top, sending the twittersphere into a comic frenzy that referenced the Watergate scandal in the early 70s.

6. #louisewilson
2014 saw the unexpected and terribly sad passing of one of fashion's most loved mentors, Professor Louise Wilson. Having guided so many of fashion's greats through Central Saint Martins' MA course, including Christopher Kane, Lee McQueen and John Galliano, she was honoured in an outpouring of grief on social media from past and present students, as well as those who simply admired her. "I absolutely loathe and hate the work," she once said, in one of her many humourous outbursts. "But I love youth. I realise how lucky it is being with youth, and what an honour that is. Nowhere else could a fat 47-year-old speak to people as young as this. They'd think you were a paedophile."

7. #freethenipple
2014 was also the year that saw the nipple fighting back in all its glory. #Freethenipple was the inescapable hashtag that was used to empower women the world over. Challenging the censorship of women's bodies - and the over-sexualisation of the female form, the viral saw ladies of all ages taking to social media and baring all. But it wasn't just about just going topless, #freethenipple was about equality. With a film coming out next year of the same name, and a continued smattering of nude crusading, go on - get them out - and stand up for something important!

8. #orangeisthenewblack
It was the series premiere on Netflix that everyone had penned in their diary for its return in 2014. Based loosely on the memoirs of Piper Kerman, who was imprisoned following charges of money laundering, the series took the highest viewer ratings of the year, winning The Emmy award for outstanding casting in a comedy series. Fans won't have long to wait, following the recent announcement that the third season is to be released some time early in 2015.

9. #indyref
Heralded as the UK's most talked about topic of 2014, #INDYREF was the response to nine month's of build up to the Scottish referendum, which took place in mid September. One of the most monumental political moments of our current generation, Scotland voted in record-breaking numbers as to whether the 307-year-old union between Scotland and England was to remain intact. Having voted in favour of no - and as always following any political result - #INDYREF called for an independent referendum amidst allegations of vote rigging.

10. #illridewithyou
A growing message of peace following the recent siege in Sydney, #Illridewithyou continues to gain worldwide support throughout December. With Muslims fearing a backlash following the recent terrorist attack, messages of peace have been spreading throughout social media, in a bid to assure those in fear that the country remains united in spite of its latest tragedy. A message of peace and love that finishes off 2014, and that hopefully resonates for many more years to come.


Text Greg French

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