Believe it or not, the Holderness family's wacky-ass holiday videos aren't the only trending topic going viral from around here. There were many times this year, ranging from very silly to very serious, when people from the Triangle got their 15 seconds of social-media fame.
One of the most delightful viral videos of the year is a clip of 6-year-old Raleigh native Johanna Colon upstaging two other girls in a dance recital by shaking, shimmying and sassing it up to Aretha Franklin's "Respect." Viewed 22 million times since it hit YouTube, the video earned Colon a ticket to the daytime-TV circuit, where she showed off her moves on Good Morning America and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
In August, New York's Kelly Keegan took to Twitter to provide blow-by-blow commentary of a man breaking up with his girlfriend on a delayed flight from Raleigh-Durham International Airport. According to Keegan's tweets, the couple went from arguing to hurling accusations ("Is that what you're starting to do with me? Just slow fade me OUT? Just like the others?") to apparently reconciling and making out while chugging copious Bloody Marys.
Another instance of people using the Internet creatively while waiting for a flight: The University of Louisville swim team made a video of themselves goofing off on the people-movers (pretending to row a boat, showing off their swimming skills and so on) while stuck at RDU. The video was viewed almost 2 million times after they posted it on Facebook last month, and it certainly provides inspiration for keeping busy the next time you're in a terminal.
Durham Academy a cappella group XIV Hours composed a three-act performance that mashed up 18 songs for a national competition in Tampa—and they lost. But they didn't get down for long. They decided to make a music video of their performance, titled "Lost in the Game: A Musical Story of Relationships, Sex and Gender Politics." It became an oft-shared favorite since debuting in September, with 38,000 views on Vimeo and features or promotion from MTV, The Huffington Post, Seventeen and various rape-crisis and domestic-abuse centers.
The murder of three Muslim students at an apartment complex near UNC-Chapel Hill last February was one of many senseless shootings that took place this year. One of the victims, dentistry student Deah Shaddy Barakat, had a charity crowdfunding site set up to provide dental care for Syrian refugees. After Barakat was murdered by Craig Stephen Hicks, whether over a parking spot or religious prejudice, the campaign exceeded its $20,000 goal the next day. It ultimately went on to raise $533,144, and the #MuslimLivesMatter hashtag was born on social media.