A Look Back At 2011 In Social Media

Businesses large and small adopted social media last year, so as we say hello to 2012, here’s a month by month look back at 2011.

But first a very human use of technology that spanned across much of 2011... The Arab Spring. That revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests which occurred from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya and beyond, proved that social media can transform society and politics on a global scale.

Less profound milestones in 2011 were plentiful. They were sometimes fascinating, heart wrenching, entertaining and downright baffling. Here’s our recap...

January...

Facebook launches Sponsored Stories. January saw Facebook answer many questions about whether it can be monetised with another addition to its advertising arsenal - ‘sponsored stories’. Sponsored stories turn user’s activity into adverts, and the cash generated via Sponsored Stories has contributed in no small part to Facebook’s overall $3.8 billion ad revenue in 2011. Monetisation? In a word... yes!

February...

It’s Friday. American teenager Rebecca Black becomes an overnight viral superstar when she uploads her self funded song and video ‘Friday’, (dubbed by some critics as ‘the worst song ever’), to YouTube. The video received over 167million YouTube views, and Black appeared on Jay Leno, Oprah and and host of prime time TV shows around the globe.

March...

Japanese Earthquake.We sat riveted to our computers and mobile phones as we watched a tragedy unfold in real time. Tweets and videos from the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan were posted within minutes of events taking place, and viewers across the globe witnessed destruction that would have been impossible to document before the widespread use of social media.

April...

I do. The Royal Wedding exploded across the social media landscape with this single event accounting for more than 70% of all social media mentions in the three days before, during and after the big day.

May...

Giggsgate. Footballer Ryan Giggs tries to sue Twitter after he is revealed to be the anonymous footballer who had an affair with glamour girl Imogen Thomas. Giggs had remained anonymous because of a super injunction, but that injunction was broken by Twitter users.

June...

Facebook Killer?? Late June, and Google announce the launch of their Facebook challenger Google+. Initially the launch is invitation only, but leaked news about the site’s functionality raises interest and calls of ‘Facebook killer’ are heard across social networks.

July...

750,000,000. Facebook passes three quarter of a billion registered users by July 2011.

August...

I predict a riot. Stories, pictures and videos of the UK riots break on social media, and networks such as Twitter and Blackberry Messenger are blamed. Many politicians call for a ‘social media blackout’.

September...

Timeline. Facebook announces the biggest change to it’s platform since it’s 2004 launch. Timeline will roll out globally, and promises to document our lives on the world’s biggest social network. Meanwhile, Google+ launches to the public following it’s 12 week invitation only trial.

October...

Steve Jobs dies. Apple founder Steve Jobs dies following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Facebook and Twitter exploded with dedications to some of his greatest quotes and achievements. RIP Steve.

November...

Groupon floats. Groupon, the world’s largest group buying website goes public - becoming the biggest internet company since Google to float on the stock market.

December...

Social gaming company Zynga floats. The company has been valued at $7bn following it's IPO in mid December. The valuation equates to 7 times  last year's sales for Zynga which is a lower multiple than both LinkedIn and Groupon.

The Facebook Timeline rolls out. After months of speculation and anticipation, Facebook launches it's biggest interface overhaul since it's launch. As with all things Facebook, concerns over privacy are immediately raised.

 

Paul Shepherd

I've worked in digital communications for around 15 years, and specialised in social media for the past three. Passionate about new technologies, media, and the impact it has on businesses bottom line, I try to bring that passion to every campaign for every brand we work with.