It was undoubtedly the most exciting year for social media yet. In 2017 you could use Snapchat to apply for jobs and explore parallel universes, Facebook to influence the direction of dating shows, and Twitter to help a Nevada teenager win a year’s supply of chicken nuggets.
These, then, are my top 10 social media moments from 2017 (and yes, there is something of a fast-food theme).
#KnowYourLemons, which launched in January, was inspired by a young designer who lost both her grandmothers to breast cancer. Spearheaded by World Breast Cancer, the campaign’s visual used 12 different lemons to make women feel comfortable knowing and talking about breast health. It quickly racked up three million views on Facebook and more than 40,000 shares.
9. Wendy’s 18 million retweets for chicken nuggets
In April, Nevada-based teenager Carter Wilkerson asked Wendy’s how many retweets he’d need to secure a year’s worth of chicken nuggets. “18 million,” Wendy’s replied. He might have fallen way short of the total, but his still became the most retweeted tweet of all time – beating Ellen DeGeneres’ previous record of more than 3.4 million.
8. Burger King’s response to a controversial Wendy’s decision
It wasn’t all good news for Wendy’s in the social media/chicken nugget world. When it discontinued its all-famous spicy chicken nuggets, Burger King decided to bring them back. And to spread the word, the burger chain promoted tweets from dissatisfied Wendy’s customers who wondered where their spicy chicken nuggets had gone.
7. Cheetos Museum
“We noticed that on Instagram and other social platforms, people were posting images of Cheetos that looked like other things,” said Joan Cetera, the senior director of marketing communications at Frito-Lay, Cheetos’ parent company, back in 2015. And thus the idea for the Cheetos Museum – a platform where people could submit and vote for their favourite Cheetos shapes – was born. It became an instant success after launching, partly because it was so well promoted on Facebook and Twitter.
6. McDonald’s Australia: Snaplications
In April, McDonald’s Australia launched Snaplications – a Snapchat filter that let people wear a virtual McDonald’s hat and name tag and record a 10-second video. These were then sent to the fast-food giant as part of its job-application process. Shaun Ruming, McDonald’s Australia’s COO, called it a “world first”.
5. Pedigree’s ‘Adoptable Masks’
National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month was given a creative twist in 2017 after Pedigree decided to experiment with Facebook’s masks feature. Its ‘Adoptable Mask’, which enabled users to use pooch-themed facial overlays, was designed to raise awareness of particular breeds that struggle to be rehomed. “We saw an opportunity to tap into the trend around selfie masks to deliver a personal and surprising experience,” Pedigree brand manager Elizabeth Barrett told Adweek.
4. Who KFC follows on Twitter
It’s not an activity-based highlight per se, but in October Twitter user @edgette22 noticed that KFC, whose secret recipe contains 11 herbs and spices, follows 11 people on Twitter – the five Spice Girls and six guys called Herb.
3. Snapchat’s window into Stranger Things
Netflix, thanks to a partnership with Snapchat and Shazam, gave Stranger Things fans the chance to enter – via a ‘portal’ World Lens – the Upside Down when season two launched in October. To unlock the Lens, iPhone users (6S and above) used Shazam within Snapchat when they heard the Stranger Things theme tune.
2. Facebook’s RelationShipped
OK, so The Guardian called it “ham-fisted and unwatchable”, but the concept, at least, was interesting – and possibly a sign of things to come. Towards the end of the year, Facebook and BuzzFeed launched RelationShipped, a dating show that allowed users to a) vote for a bachelor and b) nominate the women aiming to win his affection. Viewers accessed it through Facebook Watch, which appears in a tab next to the newsfeed.
1. Ikea versus Balenciaga
In April, luxury brand Balenciaga launched an oversized blue bag that happened to look exactly like the blue Ikea bag – though at £1,705, the former was a tad more expensive than the 40p latter. Ikea responded on its social channels with a four-point guide to ‘How to identify and original Ikea Frakta bag’. If it carries bricks and water, it’s the real deal.