Pinckney Marketing’s Top 3 Epic Moments In Social Media History

What makes an EPIC social media moment? To make the cut, it needs to be a social media masterpiece. We’ve picked our three favorite social media moments of all time.

See if you agree with our picks, or comment below if you think there’s a moment in social media history that should have made the cut!

Epic Social Media Moment #1: The Ellen Selfie

ellen selfie at oscars

On March 2, 2014, Ellen DeGeneres tweeted one of the most (if not THE most) epic selfies of all time. So, what made this a top moment?

Let’s first circle back to how this selfie happened. In 2014, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars. In the middle of the show, Ellen makes her way down an aisle passing beloved stars and celebrities with every step. She stops to take a quick selfie with Liza Minnelli before making her way to Meryl Streep. She tells Streep she wants to get the most retweets of all time by posting a selfie with her. Then Ellen starts beckoning more and more celebrities to get into the picture. She hands the Samsung phone to Bradley Cooper and–voila!

According to the Hollywood Reporter, 630,000 people watched the Oscars in 2014. That exposure certainly kickstarted the now three million plus retweets of this selfie.

In 2014, the post broke the record for most retweets, even beating out Barack Obama’s re-election tweet.

However, this record would only hold until #NuggsForCarter stole its place… a story we’ll get into now.

Epic Social Media Moment #2: “#NuggsForCarter”

In the year 2017, a man called on America in his most desperate hour.

wendys tweet

Now, it is no surprise that it took a tweet about food to bring Americans together. Whether it’s Sunday brunch with friends or a nice bar-be-cue at Gram Gram’s house when there’s food involved–Americans are in. So, it’s really no surprise that the world rallied around Carter Wilkerson in hopes of getting him to 18 MILLION tweets. Let’s break it down:

In early April 2017, Mr. Wilkerson tweeted @ Wendy’s asking for a year of delicious Wendy’s chicken nuggets in exchange for retweets. When Wendy’s responded with “18 Million,” Carter realized the stakes were high. In his quest for free “nuggs”, he posted the message, “HELP ME PLEASE, A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS” on Twitter. The internet goes wild.

Carter’s “nugg” post replaced Ellen’s most retweeted selfie and clenched the record. The hashtag #NuggsForCarter went viral. Brands like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon (to name just a few) got behind his efforts. Wendy’s ended up awarding him with his precious year of free nuggets PLUS a $100,000 donation to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which finds loving homes for children in foster care.

Epic Social Media Moment #3: Alex From Target

Now, this one is interesting, and in our opinion shows the true (and sometimes bizarre) power of social media. Alex was just your average teen, going to school and working a part-time job to earn some cash for the arcade (or whatever teens did in 2014). Little did he know, he would become an overnight Twitter celebrity.

On November 2, 2014, a Twitter user posted a picture of Alex bagging items behind the register, with the caption, “YOOOOOOOO.”

Within 24 hours, the tweet was retweeted 1,000 times and received 2,000 favorites. Brands and celebrities jumped on the opportunity to be part of the teenaged girl crush phenomenon…

target twitter Alex from target social media moment

[Also, might we just add. Props to @Target for this one. See a few other brands with killer Twitter strategies.]

On November 2, 2014 Alex tweeted, “Am I famous now?” Yes Alex, yes you are. Just days later, he would make an appearance on The Ellen Show.

She asked him “Can you sing? Do you have any other talents? We need to capitalize on this!” Alex replied: “I mean,  apparently I bag groceries pretty well.” Alex’s Ellen clip received over six million views. By the end of the week, Mr. Target had 733,000 followers–a number that would continue to soar.

However, Alex quickly became overwhelmed by the fame. This video gives a pretty good summary. After some unfortunate experiences with bad managers, Alex eventually decided to step away from the spotlight.

In 2017, he created a new YouTube channel where he could just be himself. He said, “I’m just going to be who I really am and I’m going to give [fans] more insight to my real life. I hope they enjoy it.” Nowadays, his social media depicts his passion for fitness. Talk about the power of social media!

Well, there you have it! Three epic moments in social media history.

If there’s one thing to take away from these epic moments it social media history, it’s that there’s really no rhyme or reason behind what goes viral. Social media can be a powerful thing.

It’s our job as marketers to use the power of social media to our advantage–to generate leads for our businesses. Ready to get started? Download our Social Media Handbook!

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