Happy #SMDay! Here at Patio, we spend a bit (a lot) of time peering into this weird and wonderful window to the world. It’s safe to say that if it’s trending, trolling or gone viral, we’ve seen it, passed it around, LOL’d or WTF’d, praised it or slapped a proverbial palm to the face. This past year especially, there’s been a lot of both; so to celebrate this medium we all love so much, we bring you the some of the best and worst* moments to take place on, around or because of social media in the last year.
*Note. In fairness, and let’s be honest, for a much-needed break, we’re going to leave out the Big Orange Elephant in the Room. Because two things: 1. We could fill this entire list of fails with “Stuff the President Says”. He’s already taken that cake. And sat on it. Then passed it around as the most tremendous dessert you’ve ever seen. And, 2. Are we even sure these are misses? What is he thinking? What does he want? Are we inadvertently giving it to him? Is he ultimate troll? …Nope! We said we need a break.
We’ll start with what didn’t work. So many times, folks mean well but one small slip can snowball into a crushing avalanche of public outcry, or at the very least, some serious shade. So, all covfefe aside, here’s the 5 biggest blunders to grace our screens this year.
5. Cinnabon Makes a Pretty Tasteless Cinnamon Bun
Tributes are one thing. We’ve all felt the loss of our idols, even if we’ve never met them. But to use the tragic passing of a real person to sell your product? @Cinnabon quickly learned their lesson, when they tweeted-without-thinking this, just as the world learned we had lost the incredibleCarrie Fisher:
4. Uber Takes a Wrong Turn
@Uber’s had a tough year, there’s no doubt. But there’s a lot of folks out there that believe they’re getting everything they deserve after one particular blunder: the company’s decision to roll out what looked like a promotion during the JFK Airport taxi strike in January that was itself a protest against you-know-who’s Travel Ban.
Whether they meant to or not, it appeared to many that Uber was taking the wrong side of history by offering a discount. So much so that 200,000 Uber customers cancelled their accounts in one week, #DeleteUber pitchforks held high.
Uber eventually tried to turn it around, but there’s so stopping the swift onslaught of a pissed off Twitterverse.
3. The US Department of Edumacation
In February, in what was (probably?) a nod to Black History Month by an organization already taking heat for proposing cuts and closures, @usedgov misspelled the name of NAACP co-founder and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Okay, alright. We all make mistakes. Fine. All you can do is offer apologizes, right? Wait, what?
2. The Oscars: The Dud Heard Round the World
The ceremony may have taken place on TV, but the biggest moment of the night—maybe the biggest moment in Academy Award history?—took place all because of someone’s distraction by social media. Soon after La La Land was mistakenly awarded the Oscar for Best Picture, it came out that @BrianCullinan_ was busy tweeting a photo of Emma Stone, instead of paying attention to the card he handed to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Turned out it was a duplicate of Stone’s win for La La Land, not the card that said Moonlight. Chagrin ensued.Lesson here? There’s a time and a place, people.
1. The Most Uncomfortable Mattress (or How Do You Sleep at Night?)
Some things will forever be “too soon.” Take a look at this commercial that Texas mattress company Miracle Mattress posted on Twitter and Facebook on September 8, 2016 for their “Twin Tower Sale” in commemoration of the 2011 World Trade—gah, we can’t even finish writing the synopsis of this inane idea. How the hell did it make it as far as production?
But fear not, it wasn’t all embarrassing gaffes and shameless promotion on social media this year. Lest you think the world is going to hell in a handheld tablet, we’re here to assure you a lot of good was done, too.
5. Putting Pepsi in Its Place
In yet another case of thoughtless advertising, Pepsi Co. faced a torrent of backlash after their disaster of a commercial that rode the coattails of gatherings happening across the country to protest injustice, like Black Lives Matter. The ad suggested that a reality TV star, and an ice cold can of Pepsi, is all we need to, y’know, just chill. Twitter wasn’t having it. Summed up best by someone whose family knows a thing or two about protest. Ms. Bernice King, you have the floor:
4. Lyft Rises Above
While their competitor sat embroiled in the controversy of breaking the JFK taxi strike, not to mention sitting on an advisory panel to the White House, Lyft took to social media to announce that they would go down the opposite road, and donate one million dollars to the ACLU. Sometimes the best offense is good defense. Of civil liberties.
3. Salt Bae, a Seasoned Pro
Before you roll your eyes the way the salt so deftly rolls down that impressive forearm, consider the story of a man who turned internet snickering into a worldwide empire. The man is Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, who, since his “salty” video went viral, has seen his business expand to ten restaurants across Turkey and the UAE, feeding the nobility of Leonardo DiCaprios and Roger Federers. This year he will open in London and New York. Who’s laughing now?
2. Seth Meyers: Comedy + Tragedy in No Time
It can’t be easy following names like Letterman and Conan as a new late night host. Seth Meyers found a way. Undoubtedly, he was bolstered by the new administration’s almost daily fodder for crazy comedy you couldn’t write if you tried. But credit goes to Meyers and his team for taking an unflinching look at what’s really going on and presenting it to people where they are: on social media. His “Closer Look” segment regularly tops 3 million views on YouTube, doubling the numbers he pulls in on TV. And with millennials getting 74% of their news online, Meyers finds himself in an unlikely position as a talk show host: influencer.
1. Women’s March: The Biggest Crowd on the Washington Mall Since the Last Election. Nope, the One Before That.
It all started with a Facebook invite. It led to one of the most unifying, inspiring, and hopeful shows of solidarity in a darkness that this part of the world hasn’t seen in the average lifetime of someone who would have seen that invite on Facebook. Hawaii’s Teresa Shook, or Maui Cooper Slim as she’s known online, invited four friends to go with her to Washington to protest the inauguration that didn’t sit right with her—or most of the US, as it turns out. “That night I just did it because it made me feel better in the moment,” Shook said. “I hoped that people would get on board.” They did. On January 21, 2017 that four turned into 500,000 in DC alone, and over 650 similar events took place around the world. It was the largest single day protest in U.S. history.
Like any superhero has learned the hard way, a powerful weapon in the wrong hands can be deadly. Social media is like one of those giant laser-ray guns in space. Pointed in the right direction it can be a dynamic affecter of change for good in the world. Or at least blast hurtling meteorites out of the sky. And that’s something to celebrate!