The Top 9 Stories that Kept the Social Media Buzzing in 2012
There’s no doubt that 2012 was the year of social media.
With the near-ubiquitous adoption of smartphones, Facebook and Twitter have made sharing our thoughts, news stories and blog posts stupidly-easy. Now a world without social media is now almost unimaginable, the same way that mobile phones changed our lives in the 90’s. It’s no wonder this year was so full of memorable and often downright insane stories that kept us thoroughly entertained.
Here are the year’s top stories that had the social media buzzing…
PSY’s Gangnam Style
No social media roundup for the year would be complete without mentioning PSY’s viral mega-sensation ‘Gangnam Style’. This quirky and ridiculously funny video from the Korean pop star became a world wide hit, officially becoming the number one most-viewed video of all time on Youtube. As of this writing, it has managed to garner very close to 1 billion views and shows no signs of slowing, even months after being uploaded. It has 5.8 million likes and the video has been referenced by some of the most famous people on earth. All of this attention led to PSY appearing on shows like Ellen and being mentioned by Barack Obama.
After a long, grueling court case between Apple and Samsung regarding patent infringements on the design of the iPhone and iPad, Apple was finally awarded just over 1 billion dollars in damages, while Samsung received $0. Unfortunately in social media circles the whole affair seemed to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouths, even die hard Apple fans. Here’s a pie chart that just about sums it up:
Here’s a tweet that captures it perfectly:
This epic battle of the tech giants served to highlight the validity of the patent system and what it means for the future of innovation.
US Presidential Elections
It’s really quite simple; Obama would not have become president without the help of social media. He is by far the most social media savvy, and maybe even just plain media-savvy president in US history. With the help of Youtube videos like this one, his Google hangouts, Reddit Q&As and Twitter accountdeliver his message very effectively. He has over 33 million Facebook fans, over 24 million Twitter followers and this was the most rewteeted image of all time as well as the most liked image on Facebook ever:
Not even the most-loved A-list celebs get love like that on social media. Very impressive!
Four years ago at the last Olympics, social media was far from what it is today. For this reason the London Olympics this year was dubbed the first social media Olympics, and for good reason. The BBC’s news coverage of the event included live tweets which added a lot to the participation and excitement around the event. The opening ceremony alone attracted 2 989 784 tweets with the rest of the action racking up another 150 million. Add to that the 116 million Facebook posts and comments with athletes receiving 12.2 million likes in total. Usain Bolt was by far the social media king of the Olympics being mentioned 960 000 times across all networks. Here’s a great Twitter graph of the action as it took place and here’s an amazing infographic that sums up the whole of the social media experience of this year’s Olympics beautifully.
Mars Curiosity Rover
To drum up excitement for the Curiosity’s mission to mars, NASA turned to social media, using Twitter, Youtube and even Foursquare to get people involved. Here’s a great video they released titled ‘Seven Minutes of Terror’ which now has over 2 million views:
Their Twitter account – @MarsCuriosity has over 1.2 million followers and is still tweeting.
Here’s a tweet from their launch on the 6th of July:
They even went so far as to check in at Gale Crater on Foursquare.
Google rolled out 3 major updates to their search engine algorithm with the first being Google Panda. Although it was first introduced in 2011, it was updated a few times all the way into 2012. Panda was an all-out attack on web spam where content farms and other sites with low quality or even duplicate content were wiped out. Then along came the Google Penguin update which was all about giving unnatural links less influence in rankings and this gave sites with low value links (these were usually either bought or collected) massive drops in their rankings, almost overnight. This was also when exact match domains became a lot less effective in their power to rank for the keywords in their URL.
Windows 8 Launch
Windows launched their much-anticipated new OS on October the 26th to an equal mix of applause and ridicule. Steven Sinofsky headed up the unveiling in New York City where the 2 versions of their operating systems were showcased. Windows 8 is optimized for multiple devices such as tablets, phones as well as desktop PCs and the company has managed to convert 4 million Windows users to upgrade to this latest incarnation, which is no mean feat.
This was the first natural disaster in the US to have such a strong social media following with people tweeting about the flooding, updating their Facebook statuses about the blackouts and of course sharing Instagram photos of the storm. In fact, Hurricane Sandy made bigger waves on Facebook than the presidential debates; according to Facebook’s Talk Meter, the hurricane got a rating of 8.34 compared to the debate’s rating of just 8.18. On Instagram the hashtag #Sandy collected nearly 500 000 photos.
A lot happened for Facebook in 2012. They started off the year by acquiring the insanely popular photo sharing app Instagram for a ludicrous $1 billion dollars. They then integrated it directly into Facebook with some with interesting social media responses such as:
Then they decided to go public with a stock market flotation that went south. They started out with a stock value of $38 per share which, after 3 months of the IPO, halved in value. Having been valued at around $104 billion it’s now hovering around $50 billion (which is still not too bad if you think about it). After all this they somehow still managed to attract their 1 billionth active monthly user. This means there are now 3 times as many people on Facebook as there are in the US and over 16 times more than people in the UK. All this with the world’s largest country China, having near-zero access to the site. Amazing!
So those were just some of the big stories that lit up the social media world in 2012. If 2013 manages to be even half as zany and ridiculous, then we’re in for one crazy ride…