Looking back at 2014 in technology and social media

  • Asad Ali and Saudamini Jain, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Dec 27, 2014 20:16 IST

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/12/2812brpglookingbackb.jpgWe spent more time on the Internet this year than ever. We also featured incredible gadgets, apps and other technology week after week. Lots happened on social media too – a lot of it was very, very funny. And some, super cool. Take a look at what made the most buzz.

The best MOM in the world!

Yep, that’s right. With the spacecraft MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) or Mangalyaan, India became the first nation in the world to reach the Mars Orbit on the very first attempt.

And the official Twitter handle for MOM gained lakhs of followers with its entertaining tweets. Sample this gem: “What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit?” It was among the first tweets sent out and was instantly retweeted thousands of times.

Selfie love

The art of taking your own photograph with your phone made much progress and news in 2014

* Can a monkey assert copyright? Wikimedia definitely thinks so. British nature photographer David Slater, while on a trip to Indonesia, was trying to get a picture of a crested black macaque, when the monkey snatched his camera and well, took a selfie. It became popular online instantly.

Wikimedia added the photograph to its list of royalty-free images, since it wasn’t Slater but the monkey that pressed the shutter button. The courts are yet to decide on who really owns the photo!

* The selfie stick is born! Yes, it’s an actual device which helps to put the phone at a range beyond your arms to take the perfect selfie!


In other news, Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted the Oscars this year got Bradley Cooper to click a selfie with a group of celebs. Then tweeted it. Here’s what happened next:

1. It was forwarded on Twitter more than two million times by the time the Oscar ceremony was done, crashing Twitter briefly.

2. Samsung had sponsored the event. (Reportedly they paid $20 million). A Samsung phone was used to click the selfie. For weeks, everybody debated whether it was a plug or just coincidence.

3. Lupita Nyong’o’s brother Peter photobombed it.

Selfitis: The need to take selfies. The term was classified as a mental disorder by The American Psychiatric Association, reported a Website. The news was shared by many media outlets. As it turns out, it was a hoax!

A for Apple

The world went crazy. Again. It was the year when the next version of hallowed Apple products – iPhones 6, 6 plus & Apple Watch – were launched and consumers were expectedly delirious with joy.

2014 was a challenging year

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/12/2812brpglookingbackh.jpg *

Ice Bucket Challenge

What it was:

Somebody took water, often full of ice cubes and dumped it over their heads. They then nominated people they knew to do the same. Celebrities did it, regular people did it – Justin Bieber got about one million “likes” for it. And it was all for a good cause: to raise money and awareness for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association.

When it got annoying:

When we realised that nobody we knew actually donated any money.


10 books that stayed with you

What it was:

This had been around for about a year but went viral only this year. The idea was to list your ten favourite books.

When it got annoying:

When people faked their way through it – we find it hard to believe that so many people read and love Murakami. And it was depressing to see lists full of Chetan Bhagat, Ravinder Singh and Durjoy Dutta.

* #100DaysOfHappiness

What it was:

The idea was to post photos of things that make you happy for 100 days in the year, using the hashtag #100DaysOfHappiness. Great start-of-the-year thing, we saw puppies and steaming mugs of coffee and gorgeous hardcover books and screenshots of emails and text messages.

When it got annoying:

In a week. Around the time when you posted your seventh glass of wine. Happy people don’t drink so much.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/12/2812brpglookingbackd.jpg The Interview that went wrong

The Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg directed parody film

The Interview

(a comedy about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un) was slated to release in late 2014 but earned the wrath of Kim Jong-un loyalists.

Allegedly North Korean cyber-terrorists hacked the servers of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and managed to stop the film’s release. It does save the audience from cringe-inducing acting by Rogen and James Franco, but dents the concept of creative expression.

(At the time of going to press, there were reports that Sony gave the go ahead to screen the film at select US theatres on Christmas day).

It's time

Soon, when someone asks “Can I have the time?” (and you happen to own a smartwatch), you can offer much more than that – at least if the plethora of wearable accessories this year gains enough market traction! Health advice, electronic payment, or phone calls, the age of the smartwatch truly seems upon us.

Rofl-type videos



Aam Aadmi Party: Arnab’s Qitiyapa

by The Viral Fever.

A spoof news debate where Arnab tries to investigate a new production house which claims to change Indian cinema forever

2. All India Bakchod’s (AIB) Nayak 2: The Common Man Rises

where fake Arvind Kejriwal met real Alok Nath. #YoKejriwalSoHonest

3. Alia Bhatt: The Koffee With Karan

clip where she says “Prithvi Raj Chauhan” was the president of the country and then the


AIB mockumentary starring her

Sarthak Agarwal, who topped the CBSE Class XII Boards with 99.6 per cent became a meme

Breaking bad – and how bad


The thing that was supposed to break the Internet, but didn’t:

Kim Kadarshian posed nude for Paper magazine. At first you saw her well-oiled bottom. And then full frontal.

The Internet survived. Our eyes will never be the same again.

The thing that wasn’t supposed to break the Internet, but did:

Remember Psy? That super K-pop sensation whose moves you tried to copy all through 2012 and a better part of 2013?

His Gangnam Style was viewed so many millions times that, two years later, YouTube could no longer continue counting. And as a result, it had to upgrade its tally tool, so that it can accommodate videos with more than 2.147 billion views.



When the Internet broke a celebrity:

Priyanka Chopra decided to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) – where people directly ask celebrities whatever they want – with her fans on Reddit. They asked her about that road renamed in Andheri after Chopra’s father; her endorsement of fairness products and the importance of auto-tune in her singing career.

She did not answer most questions. D’oh!


* Virtual wallets: The trend of paying via your mobile phone looks set to keep growing. Apple already did it with Apple Pay but e-wallets may redefine the way we pay in future.

* Streaming services: HBO has announced a stand-alone streaming service independent of a cable or satellite subscription in 2015. If other production houses follow suit, it’s bad news for local cable companies, especially in India!

* 3D printing: The technology isn’t new, but the applications have been significant in 2014. Bengaluru-based Altem Technologies made headlines this year with their 3D-printed Ganesha idols on Ganesh Chaturthi!

* Mamta Memes: Alok Nath memes stormed social media in 2013 – and continued in 2014. In 2015, we’d like to throw the spotlight to curvy Mamta Kulkarni. She’s got a good resume – a topless photoshoot, item numbers, re-emergence as a yogini. And her alleged arrest on charges of drug trafficking. Plus, there’s news of a film based on her life by Jayesh Seth. But can Miss Kulkarni shake up social media as much as Babuji?!

From HT Brunch, December 28

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