• Pamela Froman

Social Media Trends and Stars

What would we do without Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? These days social media is a huge part of how we communicate and is entrenched in our everyday lives.

Social media opens up the world, from breaking news to celebrity scandals, just with a glance at your phone, tablet or laptop. The main social networks include:

Facebook – Facebook allows you to connect and keep up with latest with your friends and family. Share photos, videos, and send messages. Twitter – Breaking news, entertainment, sports and politics in only 140 words. Snapchat – Live in the moment! Create hilarious pics with fun filters, view Live Stories from around the world, and explore news in Discover. Instagram – Capture, edit and share photos, videos and messages. Pinterest – Pin your favorite recipes, parenting hacks, fandoms, style inspiration and other ideas. Google+ – A social network that aims to make sharing on the web like sharing in real life.

Social media lets you contact anyone in the world, at any time, for free! You can share elements of your life, with photos and updates. Your buddies and extended family can experience what you do, despite distance. As well, social media is a great way to stay informed. News outlets, corporations, celebrities and politicians all use it to deliver their messages to the public. Of course, since this form of media posts immediately, with no filter, some posts do cause controversy. But what better way is there to find out up-to-the-minute stories, alerts and other important news? There simply isn't one.

Say goodbye to email too. Social messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat have a ton of users and are creating a worldwide community. These free services use Wi-Fi or smartphone data to chat with one person or a group, and place free calls domestic and internationally. You can dictate a voice message and instantly send video and photos, PDFs, documents, spreadsheets and slideshows. Plus everything is encrypted so your docs are secure.

For a little fun with your texting, try the LINE app. Talking is entertaining with quirky and charming cartoon characters and stickers. The basic version is free, but LINE does offer premium stickers, themes and games for a fee.

More and more, people are turning to the Internet as their major news source instead of TV, newspapers, or the radio. Unfortunately as a result, there’s been a rise in “fake news” where sites publish and circulate dishonest information about current events. A prime example of this was during the 2016 presidential election – where phony news about both candidates was shared widely across social platforms.

Facebook is stopping this dishonesty by no longer allowing these “news outlets” to advertise on the site. As well, some countries in Europe are proposing legislation to fine social media sites that allow fake news to proliferate on their platform. That's bound to help curb this disturbing trend and create transparency and truthful factual content.

The world of media is changing. Live videos, streaming and YouTube capture real, unfiltered moments. Social media is bringing this idea to the next level with “live” videos.

The Facebook Live feature captures real-time moments with online videos and in-the-moment updates. Tap the live stream icon, and you will be broadcasting video from your smartphone. You can add in a description for your feed and friends following you will be notified when you go live. So make it an feedback-friendly experience by asking for comments, and responding to questions. At the end of the video, tap “finish,” and it will post as a permanently available feature on your timeline. The max time for a video is a half hour, and you can choose to block who sees it. Social videos are a growing market, and are effecting the way we experience news and major events. Facebook Live will be only the first of many of these live video services, with authentic streaming content growing more and more. Virtual reality is also on its way up as a social media outlet. 3-D videos on YouTube are increasing in popularity and can be viewed on your mobile devices, by simply slapping on a VR headset or viewer.

Filters and event-based lenses are an engaging way to spice up the photos you share on social media. Snapchat’s facial filters make it super interactive and engaging. The feature recognizes objects like faces and overlays them with animated filters. It's addictive because options change everyday.

Top ten filters include Flower Crown, Friend Face Swap, Dog, Butterfly, Pink Flower, Crown, Deer, Bee, Frown, Camera, Roll Face Swap, and Rosy-Cheek. What will continue to be popular? Beautification filters, like Flower Crown, new adorable animals and funny, silly filters using face-swapping are sure to keep us smiling.

Social media sites are amazing tools to create a compelling presence on the Web. Stars like Jerome Jarr, Roman Atwood, Brittany Furlan, Bethany Mota, Alex Lee and Justin Bieber rose to fame and celebrity solely due to social media.

And social media would not be where it is today without YouTube videos. YouTube is addictive, with its fun and funky clips of people living their lives and catching it onscreen, music and comedic entertainment, upcoming information, and sense of community.

What’s so great about YouTube? It's home to aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians, artists, animators, and general creative types. Want to learn how to cook a prime rib? It's here on YouTube. Want to watch a cover of a Taylor Swift song? That's here too. In fact subjects like music, cooking, beauty, fitness, parenting, and home decor tips have all found their way onto YouTube. There are tutorials, news, reviews and random clips of anything you can imagine.

You can keep your YouTube exploration organized through channels. A personal YouTube channel is available to everyone who joins YouTube as a member. The channel serves as a home page with the account name, type, and personal description along with public videos that are uploaded, a list of friends and a spot for comments. YouTube offers a Browse Channels section where you can check out the most popular channels and subscribe to them if you wish. Your subscriptions are listed whenever you visit YouTube so it's super easy access your favorites.

YouTube has created a fandom in and of itself. The audience responds, reacts, and is entertained all at the same time. And it's only growing. YouTubers are creating entertainment companies, selling channels, and expanding this creative universe that reaches all over the world.

As well YouTube has created a new kind of celebrity. Who are these “vlogging” internet sensations?

Jenna Marbles, is a YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian, and actress. Her channel has over two-billion video views and 17 million subscribers, making it the 20th most subscribed channel on YouTube. Marbles released a video in 2010 entitled "How To Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking" which was viewed over 5.3 million times in its first week. She uploads new videos to her YouTube channel every week.

Tyler Oakley is everywhere: YouTube, his podcast Psychobabble, and as an activist and author. Oakley's activism is mostly dedicated to LGBT youth, LGBT rights, as well as social issues including healthcare, education, and the prevention of suicide among LGBT youth. He posts material on various topics, including queer politics, pop culture and humor.

Makeup artist and biz wiz Michelle Phan offers tips and tricks on her YouTube channel, and she's worth over $84 million. With a growing global community of over 7.5 million, Michelle’s videos have been viewed more than 1 billion times. In addition to her immensely successful YouTube channel, in 2011 Michelle co-founded ipsy, the world’s largest and most passionate online beauty community. ipsy is centered around the award-winning monthly Glam Bag, a personalized beauty sampling service based on individual style, beauty habits, coloring and preferences.

Sweden's PewDiePie became famous for his Let's Play commentaries and vlogs – testing out video games and reacting to them in ultra comedic style. His channel has over 54 million subscribers and he refers to his fanbase as the “Bro Army,” and individual fans as “bros.” Through his fanbase, PewDiePie has raised money for charities, and his coverage of indie games boosts sales for titles he plays.

Lindsey Stirling is both a violinist, and a dancer; a performance artist, and a composer. She executes choreographed violin performances, both live and in music videos on her YouTube channel, which she started in 2007. Her music covers a variety of musical styles, from classical to pop and rock to electronic dance music. Along with her original work, she covers songs by other musicians and soundtracks. Her headline tours play to a cumulative audience of over 500,000 people worldwide, and her literary debut The Only Pirate at the Party – co-written with her sister Brook S. Passey – became a New York Times Bestseller.

Author, producer, and singer Joey Graceffa posts daily fun-loving vlogs on his YouTube channel. In 2013, Graceffa and fellow YouTube personality Meghan Camarena were contestants on The Amazing Race 22. The two made it to the tenth leg before being eliminated. They later teamed up again to compete in The Amazing Race: All-Stars. Joey released a memoir titled In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World and along with co-author Laura L. Sullivan, released a young adult novel titled Children of Eden in 2016.

Viral videos and pics along with the sharing of social media combine to create viral internet sensations. These are often hilarious and always memorable.

Apple Ripper #SuperSage Northcutt UFC fighter Sage Northcutt tweeted a video of himself tearing an apple in half with his bare hands. Then he encouraged viewers to do the same, with the hashtag #SuperSage. Model Chrissy Teigen saw the clip, asking her Twitter followers for a video of #SuperSage. Northcutt was happy to oblige, sending her a personalized video.

The 5-Year-Old Meme Kid, Gavin Vine star Nick Mastodon posted a video of his nephew Gavin’s too cute reaction to a Gecko on his head. The post went viral and Gavin became the face of various memes for everyday distressing situations. Olympian Simone Biles said it best, with her comment: “There is a Gavin meme for everything.”

CoverGirl’s Cover Boy James Charles With his unique makeup tutorials, aspiring makeup artist James Charles has amassed more than 385,000 YouTube subscribers in the past year. He went viral after posting on social media about retaking his yearbook photos because he didn’t like the way his makeup looked in the shots – and he ended up bringing his own light for the retake. CoverGirl makeup brand has recently announced that Charles is their first-ever CoverBoy.

The Baseball Game #ProposalFail Andrew Fox took his girlfriend Heather Terwilliger to a baseball game to propose to her on the Jumbotron in front of thousands of people. But oops! At the crucial moment, he dropped the ring! After frantically searching it was eventually found – in the cuff of Terwilliger's pants.

Eric Stonestreet's Baby Doppelgänger McKell Harding's infant son looks identical to Eric Stonestreet. So naturally she dressed him as the actor’s Modern Family character Cam for a Halloween party. The photo was tweeted and it quickly went viral – and Stonestreet loved it. He commented: "Okay. This is GREAT.”

Twitter is a common way for celebrities to interact with fans over social media.

Anna Kendrick creates fun and laughs on her Twitter feed. She offers up light-hearted observations with hilarious word spewing that makes you feel like she's your best friend. Her latest was on April Fools day, where she remarked, “Ah, April Fools. A day of knowing that if you are actually injured, no one will help you. #SafetyFirst #Worrier

Ryan Reynolds's Twitter feed is snarky, witty, and sarcastic. His irreverent tweets will have you laughing out loud. He often responds to fan comments and questions. One fan asked, “How many @VancityReynolds does it take to change a lightbulb?” Reynolds responded with, “Two. One to change the lightbulb and another to whisper, 'You'll die someday. Alone, cold and scared.'”

Cher's emoji-filled Twitter feed feels like pure politically-themed witticisms. Often Trump-bashing, the popstar works the social media red carpet.

You can't leave out Kanye West's crazy tweets in a list of celebrities with interesting Twitter presences. You'll end up laughing at him, with his self-promoting rants. He is never afraid of posting one-liner controversy and randomness. For example one tweet proclaimed, “McDonalds is my favorite brand.” Um...okay!

And of course the most Twitter-famed celebrity is President Donald Trump. His tweets run the gamut from self-promoting to angry, but they are always interesting. It's impossible not to laugh at some of the nonsense Trump offers up via social media. They are a great - if troubling – read.

Celebrities that are mega popular on social media include Rihanna with 71,579,124 Facebook fans and 29,892,503 Twitter followers, Justin Bieber with 53,845,619 Facebook fans and 40,077,846 Twitter followers and Lady Gaga with 57,472,979 Facebook fans and 38,000,623 Twitter followers.

Business-savvy celebrities are raking in the dough with the apps trend. Some stars simply attach their names to entertaining, addictive games, while others have created personality-themed items such as emojis that you can pay for in the App Store.

Tidal is a music streaming service that hosts exclusive content and tracks from its owners: Jay Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Alicia Keys, Usher, Chris Martin, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, Jason Aldean, and J. Cole.

Tom Hanks actually has his own app. It's called Hanx Writer and is a word processor that mimics a typewriter. If you wax nostalgic for the good old days this app is for you.

Kylie Jenner's personal app offers up behind-the-scenes photos, exclusive videos, and tons of ways to get Kylie's looks inexpensively. However, the app is not updated that often and it costs $3 a month.

Kim Kardashian has not one, but three apps!

Kim K's personal app has a monthly subscription fee but is updated every day. There are makeup tutorials for her glam look, links to buy accessories to copy her style, and cute photos of her kids. In Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, you join Kim on the red carpet. Create your own star, date and dump other celebrities, and make in-app purchases to create an ultra stylish your wardrobe. You'll feel like a mini-Kardashian. And of course there's the Kimoji app for your smartphone. It's filled with hilarious Kim-themed emojis and GIFs, from her sunglasses-wearing face to a stripper pole. It's sure to spice up your conversations.

Kristin Cavallari's official app has personal updates about her family and her look, as well as fashion, nutrition, and fitness articles. She has plenty of fans who love her app – and it's absolutely free.

Demi Lovato: Path To Fame is an addictive game. Guide your aspiring celeb to stardom where she or he performs with Demi onstage. The game features her music, personal trivia and anecdotes.

Gotta Go! is Chelsea Handler's app that is perfect for getting you out of tricky situations. It's basically an excuse generator. Say you're someplace you just don't want to be. Simply tap on the app and it will bail you out by texting or calling you to get you outta there! Excuses include: “Can you come home I don't feel good,” “Spot is missing! Can you help me find him?” and “Hey. Where are you? I think my car got towed.”

Social media and the Internet is ever changing. Keep chatting!

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