2014 in Review | The Challenges, Triumphs, Headlines & Technology that Connected Us the Most
At the end of each year, Google, Facebook, Bing, Spotify and some of the other movers and shakers of the world as we know it today release their “best of” or “top of” lists, giving us a clear picture of what the world searched for, tweeted or downloaded in the past year. In 2014, some headlines, technology and apps connected, moved and entertained us more than others. As we look forward to making 2015 amazing, let’s not forget to reflect on the year that passed.
Facebook’s “Year in Review”
In 2014, Facebook users posted about:
1. The FIFA World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup captured the attention of Facebook users more than any other event in Facebook history. The all-time highest-scoring semifinal in the Brazil v Germany game and other standout matches drove millions of conversations.
When Ebola started to appear outside of Africa following an outbreak in March in Guinea and the neighboring countries, the world took an interest. The outbreak, which claimed thousands of lives so far, is the most widespread in history and organizations including UNICEF and International Red Cross are working together to contain and stop the zoonotic disease.
3. Robin Williams
On August 11, 2014, American actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away leaving behind a huge legacy. Fans and public figures from around the world including friend and comedian Billy Crystal paid tribute to the Academy Award winner. His death also prompted many conversations regarding mental health.
4. The Ice Bucket Challenge
Pioneered by Chris Kennedy, the Ice Bucket Challenge is campaign that went around the world between June and September this year and catapulted Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) into our lives. The movement raised more than $100 million in donations. Famous faces who embraced the challenge include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Bieber, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and David Beckham. Here’s a video that shows the CEO’s of Facebook, Apple, MS, Google & Amazon taking the #IceBucketChallenge. Enjoy!
5. Conflicts and Humanitarian Crises
In 2014, the world saw its fair share of conflicts and crises. From the actions of Boko Haram to ISIS attacks against civilians in Kobane to crisis in Crimea & Ukraine and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that lasted 7 weeks, Facebook users responded quickly to traumatic news. The conflict in Gaza drove the most conversations. The year 2014 also marked the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
And just as we were bidding a happy goodbye to 2014, Taliban militants stormed an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan firing on school staff and children. 145 lives were lost including 132 school children between 8-18 years of age. Social media was flooded with messages of grief, condolence and solidarity to remember the kids who died in this ghastly terrorist attack.
6. Malaysia Airlines MH370
When Beijing-bound international passenger flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 carrying 239 people disappeared in the early hours of March 8, 2014, people around the world took notice. 9 months later, the mystery remains unsolved. On July 17, 2014, the airline again appeared in the headlines and conversations on Facebook when another flight MH 17 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam crashed, having been shot down, near Torez in Ukraine killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
7. Sporting Achievements
2014 started with a bang when the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl XLVIII. Other sporting events that trended this year besides the World Cup include the Winter Olympics, the Champions League Final and the Indian Premier League. The 48th Super Bowl, which was played on February 2, is 4th on Facebook’s “Top 10 Lists” for US topics.
Here’s a Look at Facebook’s Year in Review Video
Google’s “Year in Search 2014”
In 2014, people around the world made trillions of searches and these searches say a lot about us. We searched for:
Like on Facebook, the 2014 FIFA World Cup was the most searched sporting event not only in the past year but also in history. The top trending players were James Rodriguez, Luis Suárez and Ángel Di María. The world also searched for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in which Russia, the host nation won an impressive 33 medals and the 48th Super Bowl played in New Jersey, USA.
In 2014, people searched to make sense of headlines including facts and fiction about Ebola, the mystery and conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of flight MH370, political and humanitarian crises around the world and global news including the trial of Oscar Pistorius and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, USA.
3. Famous Faces
Jared Leto, this year’s Academy Award winner for Actor in a Supporting Role dominated search in 2014 ahead of co-star Matthew McConaughey who won the award for Actor in a Leading Role for the same movie: Dallas Buyers Club. The World Cup also saw Colombian footballer James Rodríguez shine for the first time on the world stage. Searches for the winner of the Golden Boot grew more than any other player of the tournament. Last but not least, Conchita Wurst, born Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth became a global superstar overnight when she won the 59th Eurovision Song Contest in May earlier this year. Here’s the video of her award winning performance for the song “Rise like a Phoenix”.
4. Science & Technology
In 2014, Apple, Samsung and Nexus dominated search in the mobile technology category. Searches for certain products also spiked including ‘wearable tech’ (clothes and accessories that allow users to track and measure their movement, sleep patters and other parameters), lightweight HD cameras, remote-controlled flying vehicles (or consumer drones) and mobile apps with the purpose of helping people get or stay active. Another technology and science related topic that drove a lot of searches this year is robotic space probe Rosetta that successfully reached its destination- Comet 67P on November 12, 2014.
5. Pop Culture
And finally, let’s talk movies and shows that conquered search the past year. Between Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, it’s nothing short of a fight to the death. Both are giant shows with huge global audiences. Jon Snow of Game of Thrones was this year’s second most searched character behind The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper.
Movie wise, the highest grossing animated movie of all time and the winner of three Oscars- Frozen was 2014’s most searched movie on Google ahead of Interstellar and Divergent. Jennifer Lawrence who was 2013’s golden girl is still driving the most searches beating big names like Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio although the former stole the search headlines for a while around the time of the Brangelina wedding. The top search was for Angelina Jolie’s wedding dress by Luigi Massi of Atelier Versace. Here’s a look at Google’s Year in Search 2014 video:
Wrapping things up, 2014 was a year with challenges, triumphs and moments that affected us all. We saw new beginnings, extended frontiers of knowledge, witnessed courage and said goodbyes. As we approach 2015, let’s reflect on what we achieved in the past year and build on that to make 2015 awesome.