2015 is only two days away. As every year, TV and internet are filled with summaries and recaps of the year’s events. And every year we take the time to skim through the highlights of the year that passed and ask ourselves what the New Year will bring. So let us have a look at the Google top searches in 2014.
1. Robin Williams
On August 11, the entertainment world lost comedian and actor Robin Williams at the age of 63. Williams is most famous for his portrayals in films such as “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Good Will Hunting”, and “Good Morning Vietnam”. At the time of his death, he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, substance abuse as well as deep depression. His body was found by his assistant in his Paradise Cay, California home. The cause of death was suicide.
Other celebrities who passed away this year were Joan Rivers, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as well as British singer Joe Cocker.
Social media didn’t take the place of direct, face to face communication in helping fans mourn the loss of their celebrity loved one. Of course, you cannot hug your friends and other mourners through social media. You cannot also see their tears and they cannot fully experience your compassion in cyberspace. What social media did this year, specifically when Robin Williams passed away, is enable mourners to express their condolences when all other methods had been exhausted and deemed impossible.
2. World Cup
The World Cup event in Brazil was an emotional roller coaster for the players, the host country, and the fans. In one of the most jarring score lines in the history of the World Cup, Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals, humiliating and eliminating the host from the finals. What was even more heartbreaking was Neymar, Brazil’s key player, suffered a broken vertebra during the quarterfinals against Colombia.
The global use of social media platforms as a second screen was a unique approach to marketing the 2014 FIFA World Cup. From controversial plays to major injuries and, of course, incredible goals, the World Cup simply dominated Twitter and Facebook discussions for the month and a half.
On March 8th, flight MH370 disappeared while on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing without a trace. Organized searches were not successful in finding the plane and the 239 passengers onboard including the crew are still missing and presumed death.
How can a big airplane disappear in thin air? Unfortunately, this did occur and conspiracy theories are still lingering over what happened to it as we enter the New Year.
4. ASL Ice Bucket Challenge
Everyone saw at least one video posted on Facebook where people showered themselves with a bucket of ice water. What seemed at first like another random idea that occurred out of boredom became viral. The so called “Ice Bucket Challenge” was started in order to raise money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ASL). ASL, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which destroys motor neurons in the brain. One of the effects is increasing muscle weakness and spastics. Due to the Ice Bucket Challenge the awareness for the disease grew impressively and in Canada 16.2 Million dollars were raised! Of course, nothing would have been made it possible without the help of social media.
When you Google “ISIS”, you encounter tons of distressing articles about the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”. The Sunni terrorist group, which started as a splinter group of the al-Quaeda, wants to create an Islamic state on the basis of Sharia. They spread fear and terror by massively attacking civilians, carrying out executions and publishing videos of their cruelties, e.g. the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff.
6. Ebola Epidemic
Right after ALS, Ebola was the most researched word in Google and became the top search under “What is…” In March 2014, the news spread literally viral when Ebola pathogens were found in Guinea and the first people fell victim to the virus. Aid organizations like “Doctors without Borders” sent their helpers to the crisis zones but the end is still not in view. There are currently about 18.400 people affected and already over 6.800 reported deaths. The pressure for finding effective inoculations is high, so hopefully there will be some good news in 2015. Either way, I am certain that social media channels will ensure that we all stay informed.
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