1. #Abhinandan (February)
On Valentine’s Day a suicide bomb killed Indian soldiers triggering war hysteria and a social media frenzy on both sides of the border. Hundreds of hashtags were used to talk about everything from the bombing to the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian Air Force pilot, to fake claims by the Indian Army about destroying buildings and shooting down Pakistani F-16s. All this happened over a period of a month, but it was Wing Commander Varthaman and his ‘fantastic cup of tea’ that captured the country’s imagination churning up the meme machine.
2. #Christchurch (March)
The tragic hate crime in Christchurch shook the world but the response from New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, won Pakistani hearts and social media. Praises poured in about the intelligent way she handled the situation. You rock, lady!
3. #TamghaeImtiaz for #MehwishHayat (March)
An unnecessary and useless controversy, yet one that bitterly divided the country. There were people for her and against her and then there were people for the people for her and... well you get the drift. The simple act of awarding Mehwish Hayat the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz showed a very ugly side of the average Pakistani as abuses were hurled and threats made. The incident perfectly capture the insanity that is social media.
4. #ImranKhan at #UNGA (September)
The Prime Minister’s speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly took social media by storm. It was talked about not only by Pakistanis but by many international political analysts and the global media in general praised him.
5. #RoyalCouple (October)
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge won Pakistani hearts with their visit to the country. At one time the country’s top seven hashtags trending were about the couple and their fashion choices. Who knew the humble shalwar kameez could unite the whole nation?
Syed Amir Haleem is CEO, Kueball. firstname.lastname@example.org