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The 15 Best Social Media Moments in 2017: Critic's Picks

Beyonce, 2017
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Beyonce attends The 59th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2017 in Los Angeles. 

Narrowing down the vast alternative universe of social media to its subjectively best moments throughout an entire year is an overwhelming task -- let's start there. However, some choices are more obvious than others. For example, Beyoncé's world-stopping announcement that she was pregnant with twins? Undoubtedly on the list. Selena Gomez revealing that she had undergone life-saving kidney transplant surgery? Same thing.

But not everybody is Queen B or Billboard's 2017 Women of the Year, demanding a combined 21 million likes, and other moments were more fleeting or nuanced -- like the innocuous fake flirting between Nicki Minaj and John Mayer. So, with all of that in mind, here are 15 of the best viral moments social media had to offer in 2015. 

15. The Chainsmokers responding to being called the Nickelback of EDM

This is what happens when subtweeting goes right. To start 2017, on Jan. 30, Esquire's Matt Miller wrote that "The Chainsmokers Are the Nickelback of EDM." Rather than get mad, Drew Taggart and Alex Pall decided to playfully respond.

In a now-deleted tweet, The Chainsmokers attached a video of themselves mashing their hit "Paris" with Nickelback's "How You Remind Me," singing "It's not like you to say sorry..."  

14. Bow Wow Challenge

Little did Shad Moss (the artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow) know that, while relaxing in-flight checking his phone, he had just accidentally started a social media storm that would eventually have his phone blowing up: The #BowWowChallenge. 

Before boarding his commercial flight, Moss had tweeted a photo of a private jet insinuating that he would be flying in style to New York City. When he was caught in a different reality, lots of people recreated false bragging at his expense: Chance the Rapper and his daughter, 50 Cent and more non-musicians.

Moss did respond to the viral #BowWowChallenge by saying, in part, "I love it because people don't understand the scientific method to my madness."

13. John Mayer and Nicki Minaj share flirtatious tweets

John Mayer, like the rest of us, was just wondering whether Nicki Minaj would like him. Mayer, unlike the rest of us, actually received an answer. 

12. Logic has orchestra play Curb Your Enthusiasm theme from the backyard to wake up his wife, Jess up, on her birthday 

Logic wins 2017's Best Husband Award. His wife, Jess, turned 25 years old on May 1, and Logic made sure his love started her day off right. 

"It all started when we were watching one of the seasons of Curb where Larry wakes up his wife, Cheryl, on her birthday to an orchestra," the "1-800" rapper explained to Sean Evans on Complex's Hot Ones. "And then Jeff comes in and fucks it up because he's like, 'Let's go golfing!' Which is like the worst thing you could do to your wife on her birthday.

"In my mind, I was like, 'Man, this would be so cool. I should remember this' because my wife was like, 'Aw, that's so sweet.'" That's like some Disney shit."

Logic, unlike Jeff, did not fuck this up.

 

This is how I woke up my darling Wife @itsjessandrea on her 25th birthday!!!

A post shared by Logic (@logic) on

 

11. Lady Gaga's Super Bowl LI halftime performance

On Feb. 5, Super Bowl LI took place in Houston. The New England Patriots pulled off an incredible comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons, which produced many massive social media moments that are not relevant to this list. What is relevant to this list, though, is Lady Gaga's halftime performance. Most notable to social media was Gaga's exit at the end, where she jumped off the stage into seeming oblivion. That jump became the 24th most-used GIF of 2017 at 47 million views.

via GIPHY

10. Women in music supporting each other 

This year saw a lot of powerful women in music get very vulnerable and, in turn, receive very public support. There are plenty of examples across all areas of the industry, but a few stood out. 

In October, Demi Lovato released her YouTube documentary titled Simply Complicated, which explores all crevices of her past with addiction and eating disorders -- and more. Selena Gomez commented on one of Lovato's videos promoting the documentary, saying, "This was beautiful. I'm so happy for you. You always continue to be bold and real. I wish more people were like you."

Lady Gaga, one month earlier, had also released a remarkably honest documentary -- the Netflix special Five Foot Two. She received just as much support from women (and men), but this one from Lorde is a favorite.

9. Chance the Rapper Marshall tickets 

Before 2017, Chance the Rapper had already established himself as a man of the community. He has used his Twitter to raise awareness for issues in Chicago. In October, he decided to use his power for good once more by tweeting a self-written press release informing Chicago that he had bought out two theaters all day long for anyone to go see Marshall. Another surprise: the cast of the film was there for a special Q&A. 

Runner-up Chance moment: In November, Madison Square Garden astutely pointed out that Chance the Rapper is a "Rapper." Chance requested that the next time he appear on an NBA scoreboard, he be referred to as "Father" and "Zaddy," which his hometown Chicago Bulls pulled off. 

8. The power of BTS

BTS is in the middle of world domination. To speak to this, the seven-member K-pop group was named the most tweeted-about artist (and most tweeted-about celebrities in general) of 2017 in the United States. Any tweet with "BTS" mentioned was guaranteed to get thousands of retweets and likes. 

7. Artists #StandWithKeaton

?The chatter swirling around Keaton Jones, a middle schooler from Knoxville, Tenn., who went viral over the weekend of Dec. 8 after a video was posted showing him crying and asking why people bully (him and others), was vast. Celebrities from various industries -- film, television, sports -- reached out to Keaton to show him support and invite him to spend time with them. In music, examples of celebrities who got involved included Justin Bieber, Hailee Steinfeld, Demi Lovato, Zedd and many more.

All of that, of course happened before rumors started emerging that Monday (Dec. 11) that there was an ugly side to this story -- including confederate flags, money, possible racial slurs and other unfortunate factors. Regardless, the initial outpouring from music's biggest stars for a young boy crying over bullies was overwhelming, and couldn't be ignored for this list.

 

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

 

You got a friend in me Lil bro! Hit me on dm and we can chat!!! Love you buddy!!

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

6. Support for relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Mira

September and October brought a barrage of hurricanes to Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and many islands across the Caribbean. In the wake of the devastation, manager Scooter Braun teamed up with Bun B to orchestrate the Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief telethon -- which ultimately raised $55 million. The telethon featured Braun's original artist Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Nicki Minaj and many, many more across the country. 

Another telethon, headed by Jennifer Lopez, her ex-husband Marc Anthony and her current boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, was One Voice: Somos Live! Their efforts raised $35 million for Puerto Rico. Social media helped spread the word of relief efforts for all of these tragedies, and our industry's biggest stars and execs all worked together to make sure the message was as visible as possible. 

 

5. Tweets during One Love Manchester

To reiterate: including this on a best moments of social media list is not to diminish the levity of the situation in the victims' real lives nor in our society. Rather, One Love Manchester's presence here is to highlight the support shown by millions of people in tragedy's aftermath.

One Love Manchester was a benefit concert held in Manchester on June 4, just 11 days after 22 people were killed and many more injured shortly after Grande finished performing her Dangerous Woman Tour at Manchester Arena. Each family affected by the bombing received 250,000 euros from the One Love Manchester benefit gig, which raised $24.5 million (just over 18 million euros). 

Here are some viral social media moments from what happened in Manchester, including a tweet from Grande the day after that at the time was the most-liked tweet of the year:

And a policeman who didn't know he was being recorded joyfully dancing with children during Justin Bieber's set:

4. Taylor Swift’s announcement of Reputation 

We've all probably felt like starting completely over on social media -- deleting those photos you once thought were cool in high school, for example. But Taylor Swift actually did it: On Aug. 21, Swift posted a mysterious, foreboding .gif of a snake to Twitter and Instagram. Every other post to ever exist from Swift was gone. All that remained was the snake. 

We now know that this was the beginning of her promotional campaign for sixth studio album Reputation. We also know that the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now, because she's dead -- which probably aligns with why there no longer remains a trace of pre-Reputation Taylor online.

3. Justin Bieber returns to Instagram ahead of Super Bowl LI commercial

From Aug. 2016 to Jan. 2017, it seemed Doomsday was upon us as Justin Bieber had deleted his Instagram. But The Bieb made his triumphant return on Feb. 3 to unveil a T-Mobile Super Bowl commercial he would be starring in, as the "Celebration Expert." And celebrate Biebs' return to Instagram, the world certainly did. (Bieber ranks at No. 3 on Billboard's year-end Social 50 chart for 2017.)

 

Let me see your #unlimitedmoves

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

2. Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant announcement

On Sept. 14, Selena Gomez finally felt ready to tell everyone that she had undergone a kidney transplant surgery over the summer, after suffering from life-threatening complications due to autoimmune disease Lupus, which Gomez was diagnosed with five years ago. Gomez's best friend, actress Francia Raisa, donated her kidney to Gomez. She announced the operation on Instagram, writing that "there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me.... I love you so much sis."

In October, the two friends were interviewed together by The Today Show's Savannah Guthrie, which aired over two days and gave way to a lot of emotional insights and revelations.

 

I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

1. Beyonce pregnancy announcement

The most-liked Instagram post of 2017 had to come in at No. 1 on this list, too. The people demanded it -- 11.2 million of them to be exact. Posted Feb. 1, Beyoncé posted a photo of her face veiled, cradling her stomach, kneeling before an extravagant floral display. "We would like to share our love and happiness," Bey wrote in her caption. "We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. - The Carters" 

Born June 13 were Rumi and Sir Carter, and their powerful parents decided to trademark the names following birth. Trademark or not, we know there will never be another family like Queen B, Hov, Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir Carter.

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