Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Review: 2012 - The Year of the Social Image

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube were all big in 2012
2012 saw big developments for platforms sharing images
The year 2012 in social media will be remembered for a lot of things, but the No. 1 thing? It was…

The Year of the Social Image

Pinterest: It’s rapid growth began late in 2011 and rocketed through 2012. In many months it experienced 400 percent growth month-over-month. The site that features images of cute cats and delicious cakes became a huge time-suck for millions. The final seal of approval? The White House joined Pinterest in December.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Facebook bought Instagram and it was probably only a matter of time until Facebook/Instagram wanted nothing to do with rival Twitter. In early December the relationship was over: Why Instagram pulled its photos from Twitter. Then Twitter launched its own set of photo filters

Facebook: The world’s largest social network introduced automatic photo syncing which was a worry for some (Facebook automatic photo sync: 3 reasons to say "No thanks") and no real cause for concern for others (Relax, Facebook’s Photo Sync is an opt-in feature).

Viral videos: We couldn’t get enough of some videos this year and YouTube was the beneficiary. From South Korean entertainer Psy and his 'Gangnam Style' to 'KONY 2012' it seemed video sharing just got more popular by the month. For a good wrap up of the year’s top viral videos see CNN's top viral videos list.

Snapchat icon
Snapchat: This mobile social network is where friends share images (snaps) that disappear forever (its icon is a ghost ... get it?) after just seconds. In a world of perfectly controlled social presences this idea sounds crazy, but it is catching on. It’s now used at least 30 million times a day according to Forbes: Snapchat: The Biggest No-Revenue Mobile App Since Instagram. But a growing concern in late 2012 was that although the images disappear from Snapchat there is no stopping anyone from grabbing a screenshot and sharing that … forever (See: “Snapchat Sluts Hit the Internet on New Website”).

Other 2012 social media developments



Hurricane Sandy proved how helpful social media can be: From self-organized clean-up crews organizing around social media sites to social media make helping personal it was clear that the super storm had created a deluge of social media responses. The good that came from this included government agencies realizing that they can now listen in real time to the needs of citizens and weather forecasters realizing that in social media they can find out what’s happening on the ground.

More generally it became clear that government agencies and entities of all sorts can no longer ignore social media, according to Elaine Pittman at the site Government Technology: 2012 was the year that using social media to reach citizens became business as usual.

The growth of social media continues to be staggering. For a good wrap up on social media in 2012 see Brian Honigan’s piece on the Huffington Post: 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures From 2012.

So what big social media events and happenings are missing here? What other social media news from 2012 will you remember?


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  3. Interesting. If 2012 was the year of the social image, I wonder what you would categorize the most recent year as?

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