Best of 2023: The year’s biggest social media moments
Among the viral videos and memorable occasions on social media in 2023, there are some moments that stood out and will probably be referenced and talked about in years to come.
From the secret wedding to diaspora wars to Jamaica being shaken by earthquakes, social media was jolted a number of times over the past 12 months.
Against this background, Observer Online decided to highlight our picks for top five social media moments of 2023.
1. Miss Kitty getting married and announcing pregnancy
Popular media personality Khadine “Miss Kitty” Hylton married her King’s Counsel boyfriend Ian Wilkinson on Saturday, October 14, in Coopers Hill, St Andrew. The wedding was kept secret until the day the couple tied the knot when video of the ceremony surfaced on social media. The couple received much congratulations on their nuptials, which were only eclipsed by Ms Kitty announcing her pregnancy during an ultrasound on the CVM at Sunrise morning show almost a month later on November 10.
2. Jamaica vs everyone ‘diaspora war’
Following US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s victory over Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at this year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, there was uproar on social media when the three women hugged and took selfies in celebration of Richardson’s win. Many American social media users saw this celebration and the subsequent interactions with the female sprinters, coupled with the congratulatory messages from Jamaicans to Richardson, as something that was “too little too late”. As a result, they compared Richardson’s previous encounters with the Jamaican athletes and the seeming lack of support she received when she performed sub-par compared to her superb win on the day. Jamaicans, in true form, defended themselves, and their country leading to a full drawn out war of words throughout the 19th staging of the World Championship. This was only one of the numerous diaspora wars involving Jamaicans to unfold on social media over the last year.
3. Erica Mena and Spice
Many social media users came to Spice’s rescue in September when her Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta former co-star Erica Mena referred to the dancehall artiste as a “blue monkey”. In a video capturing the heated exchange, Mena and Spice engaged in a confrontational conversation, during which the Jamaican informed Mena that her son did not like her. The situation escalated, with Mena flipping a table and confronting Spice. On-set personnel intervened to separate the two women, eventually escorting Mena out of the building. The argument continued outside, where Mena referred to Spice as a “blue monkey” and made a comment about the artiste’s near-death experience. Following the altercation and the social media uproar, The Love & Hip Hop reality series franchise issued a statement that Erica Mena would not be part of the upcoming season of the show.
#82000 was trending in November following allegations that the daughter of a Member of Parliament and her boyfriend had scammed a US-based entrepreneur and influencer of a total of US$82,000. The entrepreneur had called out the couple on social media alleging that money was being taken from an account that he had given the couple access to. He said that he gave them a deadline to return his money, to which they reportedly agreed, however it is still unclear if the alleged stolen money has been returned.
5. October earthquake and subsequent tremors
One of the memorable moments of the year occurred on October 30, 2023 when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rocked Jamaica causing minor damage. Many took to social media to show damage done to their homes, schools and businesses in the form of cracks, or items spilled onto the ground from shelves in supermarkets. The quake resulted in temporary power outages, delays in telecommunications and people reporting aftershocks of varied strengths. A 4.2 magnitude earthquake occurred on November 28 and had social media users running again to the comments under news posts. This quake, it was confirmed by Jamaica’s Earthquake Unit, was an aftershock from October’s earthquake. Both quakes originated out of Portland, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management reported. There was even a phantom quake that many social media users said they felt, but the Earthquake Unit reported that there were no earthquakes recorded during that time.