Whenever we send a tweet, there’s always a little voice in the back of our heads that has belief. “This one,” it says, “this is the one that’ll go viral and turn me into a bloody online superstar.”
But in reality, sadly, this rarely happens – the retweet count barely goes beyond 2, while you’ll be lucky if anyone even “likes” your latest and admittedly well-constructed thought. You sigh, and then, as you scroll down your timeline, you comes across something as infuriating as this:
That there is 166,000 retweets for that simple, seven-lettered online utterance. That’s a scary amount of online engagement on its own, and, with an army of 20 million people tuned into his every published thought, Harry Styles could very conceivably make or break the entire burger industry with that kind of tweet, such is his overriding influence on the web.
TIME Magazine are particularly intrigued by the power that’s wielded by the world’s leading online commentators, and so yesterday posted their second annual list of who they consider to be the 30 most important people online right now. As well as the names that come to mind first – Real Madrid goal-getter Cristiano Ronaldo, Snapchat God DJ Khaled, some rapper called Kanye West – there’s also a whole host of other lesser-known names (despite their millions of followers; oh, the irony) who’ve made their virtual millions through viral success in the past year.
Don’t fret if you’re drawing a blank on the majority of the names featured on the list: just consult our below who’s who guide to the people on TIME‘s almighty list who will most likely have you spluttering “WHO?” all over your laptop screen, and you can officially consider yourself to be “down with the kids”. Groovy.
The unofficial Queen of Pinterest – you know, that photo sharing app that your mum probably uses – Cho commands an army of 12.8 million followers, who hang on the graphic designer’s every repost. Not a bad way to earn a living, is it?
Laci’s a familiar face on that YouTube thing you overheard the kids at the bus stop enthusing about this morning: her instructional video channel offers important, big sister-type advice to viewers on issues such as practising safe sex to, er, a 101 in BDSM. Green’s videos should serve as an example to schools for how to make sex education less awkward and awful.
Josh Holz and Daniel Lara
This comely double act became inexplicably famous last month after their Snapchat videos decided to go viral. The premise was simple: Holz would film his high school buddy Lara, supposedly unexpectedly, and make fun of his trainers in a high-pitched voice: “Daaaamn Daniel, back at it again with the white Vans!”
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An obvious recipe for success, right? Well, when someone stitched together Holz’s Snapchats into one clip, the duo went global – the eponymous Daniel even ended up with a lifetime’s supply of Vans shoes, so grateful were the manufacturers for the free advertising that they duo had given them.
Johnetta Elzie and DeRay McKesson
As TIME points out, there is no one figurehead of the #Blacklivesmatter movement, but Elzie and McKesson have become two of its most vocal champions online since activism started following the controversial verdict on the George Zimmerman case in 2013.
Gaining a following after they live-tweeted the turbulent events of the 2014 Ferguson protests, Elzie and McKesson then founded the website WeTheProtestors as an online hub for activists.
Pons “does it for the Vine” – because that’s a phrase that makes sense in 2016, apparently. A star of the six-second-video platform, the Venezuelan’s comedy shorts have enraptured a massive following online, with her creations having currently been viewed 7.9 billion times. And yes, what you’re thinking is indeed correct: that’s more plays than there are people on this Earth.
Andrew fucking loves science: she even made a Facebook group declaring that very fact. It appears that 24.2 million other people in the world also fucking love science, as that’s the precise number of users who are currently subscribed to the group’s updates.
Andrew’s influence is spreading the good word of science in an age where some powerful people in government (we’re looking at you, US Republicans) still don’t rate the notion of climate change – those people are idiots, and don’t fucking love science.
Bow down to the King – Bachelor is King Bach, who, if Pons is the Queen of Vine, would consider himself the patriarch of that particular social video platform. He’s got more followers than Pons, for one – with 15 million users at his fingertips, Bachelor’s influence is undeniably great and powerful. Handy, then, that he’s a pretty funny dude.
Rounding off our who’s who list is Ostrovsky, who goes by the name of ‘The Fat Jew’ (honestly, he does). With a strong Twitter and Instagram following, Ostrovsky rose through the ranks of online fame through his social media presence, before then falling into online infamy last year after a number of comedians called him out for not posting original material. Still, with eight million followers on Instagram, that should be enough comfort for Ostrovsky, even when his peers turn on him.