City Weekend

Big hitters who went viral online in 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 December, 2016, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 December, 2016, 9:00am

Let’s face it, we are still figuring out the internet. Social media and the internet are evolving at such a breakneck speed that many people, including politicians and those in media, are still grappling with how to put its power to good use.

While we constantly worry about how one minor gaffe could snowball into a career-ruining meme or viral video, the internet sometimes reveals to us that it can be a place where candour and earnestness are rewarded.

Likewise, internet users occasionally show they are not all mean cynics who spit only vitriol. Sometimes the internet converges love and memory faster than anyone could imagine. The Post has put together a list of heroes who were adored and respected by social media and the internet in the latter half of the year.

1. Leon Lai Ming (May)

The Canto-pop star was lauded for his social media public relations skills when his concert was postponed as the venue failed to meet fire safety requirements. The singer put out videos which earnestly documented how he and his team handled the unexpected emergency. The singer even Facebook-lived his performance to apologise to those who missed the concert because of the rearrangement.

2. Hong Kong firefighters (June)

The city’s residents and celebrities paid tribute to Hong Kong firefighters after a deadly 108-hour blaze at an industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok in which two firemen lost their lives. A group of artists launched the viral “Salute to Our Firefighters” campaign, with celebrities such as actors Jackie Chan and Andy Lau Tak-wah paying tribute.

3. Fu Yuanhui (August)

The 20-year-old swimmer became the internet’s sweetheart after she revealed her genuine happiness on winning a bronze medal for China at the Rio Olympics. Contrary to the scripted post-game comments of so many athletes, Fu’s innocent and raw feelings won the hearts of the internet.

4. Japanese eco-warriors (December)

A team of 32 Japanese eco-warriors, the youngest aged just 10, rose to online fame after they paid their own way to Hong Kong to help clean up the city’s polluted beaches. They spent four days picking up rubbish strewn on beaches around Lantau and Lamma Islands.

Videos documenting their journey circulated widely on the internet. Their Facebook fan group, the First Penguins, were subscribed by over 1,000 users in just a few weeks.