However, what’s most interesting about the 2015 roundups of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram is the positivity of people’s responses. Trolls might have also made it into the headlines this year, but the overriding message on social media has been one of unity.
#PrayForParis became a global trend in November almost as soon as the terrible attacks began to unfold. A sub-hashtag, #PortOuverte, also emerged from the trend as users in the city offered their homes to people who needed shelter from the attacks.
#BlackLivesMatter is the perfect example of how hashtags can become social movements. It came to the fore as people responded to the killings of unarmed black men by police officers across the US and was tweeted over 9 million times in 2015. It now widely represents the conversation online and serves as a sign of unity, bringing inequality into the public forum.
Map showing the level of tweets using #RefugeesWelcome in March, 2015.
#RefugeesWelcome is another example of a hashtag becoming a wider social movement. Europe’s migrant crisis is ongoing and this hashtag certainly won’t be disappearing anytime soon. At its peak in 2015, the hashtag was trending all over the world as people used it to rally support and urge European countries to open their borders.
Not all bad news…
2015 trends weren’t all generated by negativity though. The hashtags#HomeToVote and #LoveWins tell the tale of same-sex marriage being legalized in the US and Ireland this year.