The Top Social Media Takeaways of 2016

Selena Gomez - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Selena Gomez dominated Instagram (with 8 of the 10 most-liked photos this year), while Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner ruled the photo-sharing app with their street style.

Social media isn’t just about getting likes, shares and mentions — it’s all about the reach. How far can one post go? With celebrities forgoing the usual publicist-constructed responses, stars are expressing their visceral reactions and most private moments on social media, thus making world-wide news that result in a meta social media rabbit hole that we’ve all clicked our way into. Here, the top social media takeaways of 2016.

Kanye Is Tweeting Again

When Kanye tweets, the world sighs. Not only does he make international news the moment he tweets, but artists sell goods (cross-stich samplers, t-shirts, pottery) on Etsy to memorialize his words. Calling his tweets "a form of contemporary art only comprised by people telling me what to tweet and what not to tweet...", the artist is aware of the tidal wave he causes with 140 characters.

After the beginning of 2016, Kanye was his happy self, calling out critic Bob Ezrin: "what the fuck does he know about rap…"; celebrating his wife's beauty; and tweeting out sweet North West anecdotes. He also tweeted his thoughts about The Grammys ("This is the most important living artist talking"), Beck, Kylie Jenner’s Puma deal and fine furniture ("[Royere's] Polar Beach Couch is my favorite piece of furniture").

But then Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, and everything changed. The family withdrew, and news got out that Kanye was hospitalized at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Social media has shown Kanye a lot of heart, rooting for him to get well, and leaving the mocking to a minumum. There aren't any memes that went viral about Kanye's time at UCLA; fans just wanted to see him get back to his old self. What’s great about Kanye’s tweets, and what will always be great, is he uses caps lock to mean "shouting" which is so dated. It’s all about being deadpan in sentence case on Twitter, Yeezy. 

The Sisterhood

Gigi, Kendall. Kendall, Gigi. Whether they were wearing wigs for Balmain's Paris Fashion Week show, or quickly exiting Mr. Nice Guy, the best friends reached billions of fans as each outfit (styled by Monica Rose) would be ‘grammed, tweeted, pinned, tumbled and snapped within seconds. Kendall finessed her grunge/heiress/‘90s Calvin Klein everyday looks by wearing everything from a heart-shaped Saint Laurent red mink coat to a custom LaBourjoisie dress for her 21st birthday, an homage to Paris Hilton's Dolce & Gabbana dress when the heiress turned 21. Gigi, on the other hand, is a fashion chameleon, posting sleek atheleisurewear looks to Southwestern, duster coat ensembles (since retired, thankfully) paired with six-inch heels. Not to mention the supermodel gained the most Instagram followers in 2016, more than any other celebrity. Serious reach means serious dollars for brands — expect bigger and better social-friendly fashion campaigns in 2017.


A photo posted by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on


A photo posted by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on


A photo posted by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on


A photo posted by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on


A photo posted by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

How the Algorithm Fked Up Election Perception?

If you know a tiny bit about Facebook, you’re aware that you can neatly create your own microcosm, unfollowing the friend that posts endless complaints or a brand that you "like" but whose ads you don't want to see. Quite effectively, and without you even really noticing, you begin to see the world through rose-colored glasses. During the election, my feed was an expertly curated stream of journalists, pouring their soul and wit in tweets that made me laugh every single day. We built our best social media lives, and effectively edited out the other side.

The King and Queen of Instagram's Divorce

Oh, where to begin. This pair has socialized (are we saying that now?) their entire relationship since it began. They have been together and broken up while trying to stay cordial to each other, but clearly sending subliminal messages back and forth. This year, Justin Bieber had enough of Selena Gomez's IG peanut gallery, making his account private and asking his fans to back off of his then-fledging relationship with Sophie Richie. "If you can’t handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol – It should be special between you two only," Gomez commented on Bieber's IG. "Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before any one ever did."

The Biebs deleted his account, and hasn’t been back since. Any news about him flies over social media (he's currently embroiled in a mink coat drama with PETA). By sticking around IG, combined with that new Coach campaign, it looks like the queen of Instagram could continue her social media reign in 2017. Eight out of 10 of the most liked photos on Instagram is no easy feat. 


A photo posted by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on