2016 was a year of change and growth for many social media platforms. Some expanded their services, others met their demise, and many of the big players became obsessed with providing their users with the ability to livestream. But even with all the changes, one thing remained consistent. Topics Canadians cared about, whether it be Drake, the U.S. election or Pokemon Go, were sure to show up on social media platforms across the board.
The death of Vine
One of the biggest changes to the social media landscape in 2016 came when Twitter announced it was shutting down its short-form video service Vine in an effort to cut costs.
Vine, the platform that allows users to record and loop up to six seconds of video, surfaced back in 2013 (Twitter acquired it before it even launched) and, over the years, it helped produce several stars including Canadians Shawn Mendes and Ruth B. But with Twitter bleeding money, and struggling to find a buyer, the social media giant made the cut quite abruptly, much to the horror of “viners” everywhere.
But, like a Christmas miracle, one week before the holidays, Twitter had an abrupt change of heart when it announced Vine will actually live on. Starting in January, the app will be renamed Vine Camera and now will let users post their six second looped videos to Twitter.
The death of Meerkat
In early 2015, tech company Life on Air released its own livesteaming app, Meerkat.
The app gained popularity but when Periscope emerged, a similar product that was endorsed by Twitter, it quickly lost traction. A year and a half later, this September, Life on Air announced the death of Meerkat.
We just removed Meerkat from the AppStore bitter sweet moment seeing it go while celebrating @houseparty— Ben Rubin (@benrbn) September 30, 2016
But the death of Meerkat was not the death of Life on Air. The tech company recently announced its new comeback app Houseparty, an application that allows users to engage in group video chats.
Livestreaming with one tap
The ability to livestream was one of the hottest trends on 2016, with several social media platforms eager to provide its users with the service.
“Going live” first started with the apps Meerkat and Periscope but other platforms have quickly caught on. In April, Facebook gave all of its users the ability to livestream and Twitter followed closely behind. Twitter acquired Periscope in 2015 and this summer it allowed its users to go live through its app as well (but only by launching the Periscope app while doing so).
Ready to go live? Now everyone can tap a new button on iOS & Android to easily broadcast on #Periscope from Twitter! pic.twitter.com/tedpUN1QMA— Twitter (@twitter) June 15, 2016
But that changed in December when Twitter announced users can now start a livestream by simply clicking on an icon in its app, meaning users no longer have to launch the Periscope app to go live.
The functionality of the service is still powered by Periscope but one has to wonder, now that Twitter has launched a work around for Periscope, could the death of that app be next? We all know what happened to Vine….
Meanwhile, following closely behind Twitter and Facebook on the livestream bandwagon was Instagram. Starting this week, users in the United States can livestream from its app as well.
The new feature on Instagram is a bit different than the one on Facebook and Twitter, though. On Instagram, videos disappear rather than replay as they do on other platforms. The plan is for the feature to be accessible globally in the next few weeks.
Livestreaming made headlines in news stories this year. In one instance, a woman who watched her boyfriend be shot by a police officer livestreamed the aftermath of the incident on Facebook.
And finally, another big change to the social media landscape came this year when Instagram rolled out its “stories” feature, which essentially appeared to be similar to Snapchat. But Instagram did try to make its version a bit more unique, eliminating filters like the ones on Snapchat and adding the ability to link to articles.
The topics that dominated social media in 2016
While all the major social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google) had different stories rise to the top of their platforms in 2016, there were a few people and topics that consistently showed up on top this year. In Canada, those included Drake, the U.S. election, and Pokemon Go.The Donald, Pokemon Go and Drake: What Canadians Googled in 2016 Karaoke, lip-syncing and 'Suicide Squad': YouTube Canada's top videos of 2016 Twitter's top hashtag in Canada for 2016: #BellLetsTalk Squad goals with bae: Instagram's biggest trends of 2016 Two moms top 2016 Facebook Live video views in Canada, U.S.
The Canadian rapper was all over social media this year, in part because 2016 was the year he released his highly anticipated album “Views” and also the year he embarked on his “Summer Sixteen” tour. But it wasn’t just music that kept Drake on top of all the feeds. His fashion line, his support for the Toronto Raptors and his on-again-off-again relationship with Rihanna all helped crown him Canada’s social media king for 2016.
Drake performs in concert as part of the Summer Sixteen Tour at Madison Square Garden in New York, Aug. 5, 2016. (Photo by Charles Sykes / Invision / AP)
The former Degrassi star had the year’s second most retweeted tweet in Canada with a post of his track list for his album Views and he also became the second Canadian musician with 30,000,000 followers (Justin Bieber was the first).
#VIEWS Tracklist pic.twitter.com/6KLbbgzFSm— Drizzy (@Drake) April 27, 2016
The Canadian crooner also dominated YouTube in 2016. His video for “Work” with Rihanna, filmed in Toronto, was the most popular music video on the social platform in Canada.
Given all of his popularity, it comes as no surprise that Drake – who boasts Canada’s most-followed Instagram account, @champagnepapi -- also had two of the three most-liked Canadian celebrity posts of 2016.
The top post (with 1.5 million likes) is a selfie of Aubrey Graham planting a kiss on the cheek on Rihanna at base of the CN Tower.
This is a night for us all to be thankful for what you have done for us! You have affected so many of our lives in the best way possible. Tonight we celebrate you! @badgalriri
He rounded out the top three list with a dreamy shot of him standing in a driveway in polka-dot pajamas. (Like count: 1.2 million.)
Woke up with a new to do list.
And finally, Drake was also the most Googled Canadian of 2016. The second spot went to Celine Dion followed by the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie.
While the U.S. election happened across the border, Canadians from coast to coast were interested in the election and the results, a fact that was evident by how popular the occasion was on social media.
ElectionNight was one of the top ten hashtags on Twitter in Canada this year. In fact, an election related post by user @lovelyytyler was the most retweeted tweet of 2016.
The post shows a screenshot of Google where someone asks the question “whos the president of the U.S." The answer is Barack Obama. @lovelyytyler then posted the screenshot with a call for Twitter users to retweet it “while you still can.”
Rt while you still can pic.twitter.com/KPyY8e48lF— Em// 14 (@lovelyytylerr) November 7, 2016
Meanwhile, when it came to Facebook, the U.S. election was the top trending topic in both Canada and the U.S and November 8, Election Day in the U.S., was one of the most Instagrammed days of 2016.
In this Dec. 1, 2016, photo, President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he speaks during the first stop of his post-election tour in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)
Finally, Donald Trump was one of the most Googled topics in the world this year and the U.S. election was one of the most Googled news stories in Canada.
Finally, another topic that was popular across the board on social media platforms in 2016 in Canada was Pokemon Go.
The smartphone game was the sixth most-used hashtag in Canada this year and it was also a trending topic on Facebook in Canada and around the world. Finally, Canadians were also crazy about Pokemon Go. It was the second most Googled topic of the entire year.