Online in 2015: How tweet it was

 2015 could easily have been the year of the virus … the internet virus that is.

From a blue and black (or was it white and gold?) dress to a helicopter lovin' politician, it's amazing what went viral over the past 12 months.

Here's a look back at the trends that (almost) broke the world wide web this year.

What colour is this dress?
What colour is this dress?

YOU know something has made internet history when Google - the world's most popular search engine - takes just 0.39 seconds to deliver 40,400,000 hits based on two simple words.

Love it or loathe it "the dress" landed on our computer, tablet and mobile screens on February 26 and it wasn't going away in a hurry.

From New York to Darwin, an inordinate number of people spent an equally inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if "the dress" was blue and black, white and gold, blue and brown or blue and gold after a photo of it posted on Tumblr went viral. For the record the dress is blue and black (I think)!

Evan Agostiniaap

SOCIAL media feeds the cult of celebrity like little else can. And 2015 was no exception.

Taylor Swift harnessed the power of the internet to put tech giant Apple in its place when it decided to withhold royalties from artists streaming on its new music service.

Adele outraged Lionel Ritchie when she turned his fave word "hello" into a song and released the obligatory video on YouTube, where the clip was viewed more than 100 million times.

Talking of breaking things, a bloke called Zayne Malik broke millions of hearts when he left One Direction earlier this year while Kim Kardashian and Kanye West sent the Twitterati into overdrive when they called their new son Saint.

The award for "Things We'll Never Unsee" goes to Justin Bieber who, in October, subjected us to his unmentionables when a photo of him skinny dipping infected our social media feeds.

Twitter, Facebook and online news sites were the first places we turned to solve the big mysteries of the year including: Could Guy Sebastian win Eurovision?; who stole the heart of Bachelorette Sam Frost (thanks for the leaked photo of the happy couple Daily Mail)?; What would US President Barack Obama say when he finally joined Facebook?; and would Tony Abbott come out of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership coup with his budgie smugglers intact?

Peace for Paris logo.
Peace for Paris logo. Jean Jullien

FACEBOOK and Twitter were incredible social justice tools this year.

In May, it seemed everyone was seeing red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet after Ireland legalised gay marriage.

People across the globe turned their profile photos rainbow and Australians used the gay symbol to urge politicians to make same sex unions legal here. In September, an incredibly poignant photo highlighting the European migrant crisis went viral across the globe.

The image of a Turkish police officer carrying the body of a tiny boy who drowned as he and 11 other Syrian refugees attempted to reach Greece by boat really brought home the tragedy unfolding across Syria. The Australian reaction to that photo was so strong that then PM Tony Abbott caved into a nation-wide call to have our country open its doors to more Syrian refugees.

About two months later, Facebook and Twitter erupted with shock, anger and extreme sadness when news broke that terrorists had killed 130 people in co-ordinated attacks across Paris. In a global show of unity, millions of people added French flags to their social media profiles and shared Jean Jullien's #PeaceForParis symbol over and over again.

Bronwyn Bishop's $5000 helicopter ride to a Liberal Party fundraiser sparked outrage and plenty of memes.
Bronwyn Bishop's $5000 helicopter ride to a Liberal Party fundraiser sparked outrage and plenty of memes. Contributed

THERE wasn't a sad face in Australia when senior Liberal Bronwyn Bishop's love of helicopters delivered a never-ending stream of the funniest memes this country has seen since the word "meme" became a part of lexicon.

Bronnie eventually fell on her sword and relinquished the coveted Federal Parliament speaker position over the costly Choppergate affair. But we're sure she's happy in the knowledge that so many people cried laughing at her expense.

Talking of laughing at someone else's expense - the drunken shenanigans of Sarah Finn pushing a police officer into bushes at the Melbourne Cup also did the rounds. Her actions led to a public apology after footage of the incident went viral.
 

Mark Latham revealed he was behind some offensive online trolling.
Mark Latham revealed he was behind some offensive online trolling. Vicki Wood

 

TAMING THE TROLLS

SOCIAL media allows people with ill-intent on their minds to harass, stalk and threaten others under a mask of anonymity.

The more outspoken you are, the more likely you will become a target of offensive remarks and unsolicited penis pictures.

Feminist writer Clementine Ford is harassed day in day out by men who disagree with her views about gender inequality. Ford decided to fight back in November when she outed all her abusers. One bloke even lost his job when Ford forwarded his offensive post to his employer.

Talking of losing their jobs, one-time prime minister hopeful Mark Latham was forced to leave his coveted Fairfax columnist gig after he revealed he was the person behind … wait for it … the @RealMarkLatham Twitter account.

The account is synonymous with offensive trolling of prominent Australian women including Australian of the Year and domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty.
 

The world mourned Cecil the lion when he was killed by a trophy hunter.
The world mourned Cecil the lion when he was killed by a trophy hunter.

 

A LITTLE PAWS FOR THOUGHT

THEY'RE cute, they're furry and they're taking the internet by storm. It was a case of adorable animal overload in February when Google Android released its gorgeous "be together, not the same" promotional video.

Shared more than 6.4 million times on Facebook, the advertisement celebrated unlikely friendships in the animal world.

Also climbing up the social media popularity ladder is fun furry feline @Sockington. This cuddly cat collects Twitter followers like he collects fleas. At last count he had over 1.5 million followers who lap up his daily musings.

Meanwhile, former dairy farm reject Goliath the calf took the internet by surprise when his proud owners released photos of the cute bovine chilling out on the family couch and rough-housing with his canine companions. The photos were shared almost 20,000 times in just a few days.

Sadly, not every animal story made us feel good. In May, Australians were shocked when undercover photos showed greyhounds training with live bait including piglets and possums.

Then two months later, there was a global show of outrage following American dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer's posting of photos of himself proudly posing over the dead body of Cecil the lion.

The year ended on a great note, thanks to the Melbourne Cup winning feats of an unknown bay nag called Prince of Penzance and a young female jockey known as Michelle Payne.


WHAT THE HACK?

IN July, about 32 million people around the world found themselves caught up in a wide world of deceit when hackers threatened to release the membership data from an adultery website.

The Ashley Madison technology breach sent a collective shiver of fear down the spines of men who worried their site use would be exposed. Hacker group The Impact Team ended up leaking more than 25 gigs of information onto the internet in August. A number of high profile people were exposed including the eldest son of America's 19 Kids and Counting Duggar clan Josh Duggar. 

Also on the hacking front, hack collective Anonymous, in November, warned it was preparing to unleash a data war on ISIS after the terror organisation claimed responsibility for the Paris terror attacks.



PM defends My Health Record after ‘glitch’

premium_icon PM defends My Health Record after ‘glitch’

“About 20,000 people did opt out online yesterday.”

Children on the coast the system has forgotten

premium_icon Children on the coast the system has forgotten

Report finds the region is facing a 'children at risk' crisis

Country music fans to celebrate legend Buddy Williams

Country music fans to celebrate legend Buddy Williams

Help make Dorrigo become the 'Home of Buddy Williams'.

Local Partners