Going viral is a coveted status many content creators hope for. While few will achieve such virality and this year, there were a few big ones — some brand driven, others driven by social issues and unrest. Here are the top five viral events of 2014.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Whether or not the ice bucket challenge originated with ALS, the ALS Foundation made a splash this summer with a viral campaign that helped to raise more than $100 million dollars. Here’s just one of the resulting viral videos — Bill Gates accepted the challenge from Mark Zuckerberg, racking up nearly 21 million views in the process:
2014 FIFA World Cup
The World Cup only comes around every four years and this year it took over social media. During the month-long soccer tournament, viewers were highly engaged and used the second-screen mobile experience to turn the 2014 World Cup into the most tweeted sporting event ever.
Ellen’s Oscar Selfie
Award show celebrity pageantry translates well to social media. This year, Ellen DeGeneres’ star-studded Oscar selfie broke records and resulted in a viral coup for Samsung.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
When the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback! released a street harassment PSA, the video quickly went viral, with more than six-million views in less than 24 hours. Unfortunately, the backlash also went viral with the woman in the video becoming a target for trolls.
When the story broke about the police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown, social media became an engine for the latest developments from #Ferguson and spreading awareness of police brutality. And when the grand jury failed to indict the officer involved in the shooting, social media erupted with outrage.