2012 has experienced highs such as that of the Olympics and Paralympics in London and lows including Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school and we have rushed to document these events and more via tweets, statuses and photos. The influence of social media as a method of communication, education and information is undeniable and it seems like social media sites are only set to grow. So, as we will shortly arrive at the end of the year, let’s take the opportunity now to look at the main talking points of the year.
The astronomical ascent of Pinterest sparked the interest of the social media world. Pinterest is a image sharing social network where one has the opportunity to create online scrap books, which are called ‘boards’. Users are able to ‘pin’ images by uploading pictures or videos and pilfering from websites or other users’ accounts. The website has a predominantly female demographic with the typical trending images being clothes, cute animals or cakes. However, as businesses are beginning to realise the potential ROI, the website is starting to attract a large male audience.
Kony 2012 began the influx of viral videos of 2012. The film was to promote the organisation, Invisible Children’s campaign which called for the arrest of International Crime Court fugitive, Joseph Kony. The film received positive and negative reception and the virality ensued a follow-up film. However, the second film didn’t reach the success of the first Kony film which to date has over 95 million views. Other viral videos of the year included Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer anthem Call Me Maybe, Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking parachute jump and GloZell Green’s hilarious cinnamon challenge. However, none match the feat of Psy’s Gangnam Style, which received the accolade of the most watched YouTube video of all time, amassing a total of over 990 million views. This video montage shows the viral videos of 2012:
The Olympic and Paralympic Games were hailed as the ‘World’s First Social Games’ and became the most tweeted event of 2012. Staggering statistics included 9.66 million tweets during the Opening Ceremony, 116 million related posts and comments were published on Facebook and 231 million videos were viewed on YouTube. Perhaps the most impressive stat is that by the time Usain Bolt finished the 100m in 9.63 seconds, 2 million related posts on the internet were shared. The incredible amount of tweets also led to Twitter crashing, demonstrating the magnitude of online sharing.
Social Media Faux-Pas
Of course, it wouldn’t be social media without a few public gaffes and this year was no exception. British high-end supermarket Waitrose asked their Twitter followers why they shop at Waitrose using the following hashtag #WaitroseReasons and received responses such as: ‘I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people’ and ‘I shop at Waitrose because I was once at the Holloway Rd Branch and heard a dad say “Put the papaya down, Orlando!’. The Waitrose PR team responded to the incident with this tweet, ‘Thanks for all the genuine and funny #waitrosereasons tweets.We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them.’ However, Waitrose may have had the last laugh as the incident reinforced their high-end image which is hardly bad publicity!
Hurricane Sandy showed the scope of potential social media could offer in future disaster relief efforts. Authorities used social media to communicate with the otherwise unreachable public and the public used social media sites to connect, communicate and collaborate to organise Sandy clear up events. As the public took to social networks to upload photos and videos of the devastation, it has been noted that these first-hand accounts could aid the authorities along with scientific and emergency services to predict future weather patterns and to put better flood and hurricane protection measures in place.
US Presidential Elections 2012
Talk of the US presidential elections dominated the social networks as supporters of Obama and Romney battled it out. After a long election campaign, when news broke that Obama had clinched his second term as president, the tweet, Four more years accompanied with the now historic photo of Obama hugging the First Lady became the most retweeted photo of all-time being shared over 643,135 times.
Pope joins Twitter
A telling sign of the influence of social media has to be when traditional institutions such as the Church use social media to connect with their following. In December, the Pope joined the tweeting masses, racking up over 1 million followers within 2 weeks of joining. In related news, senior Anglican bishops will tweet their Christmas sermons to the masses and they are even encouraging worshippers to tweet during the service.
2012 has been a tumultuous year in the world of social media and it looks like there will be more in store in 2013. From everyone at TM International, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
What have been your highlights of 2012?