A lot of things happen every New Year. You give up your first resolution within hours of midnight. You find it almost impossible to predict traffic patterns for the first week. And you can’t move for countdowns. They’re all over TV, newspapers and the Internet. You can’t pass a media platform without stepping on a top 5 that just popped out.
That doesn’t mean countdowns are a bad thing. To try and break a little from the monotony, we’re not going to do a countdown. We’re giving you a list instead. In fact, we’re giving you two lists in one. Social media has had a rollercoaster year, so let’s look at the highs and lows of Social media in 2012.
It’s literally impossible for anyone on social media to get higher than Felix Baumgartner did without a rocket. When he jumped from his balloon 24 miles above the earth, he didn’t just set a world record. He did it live on social media. YouTube takes more and more steps towards mainstream media acceptance, events like the Red Bull Stratos jump will only aid that cause.
No countdown, ahem, list would be complete without a mention of PSY’s video. It’s not the best video you can find on YouTube. It’s not the most memorable piece of video you’ll ever see. But, as they say, 1 Billion viewers can’t be wrong.
‘This Seat’s Taken’
Social media is the ideal location to demonstrate your wit. Twitter in particular offers plenty of opportunities for the sharp-tongued. But not one of them will ever come close the pithiness of the Obama campaigns tweet during the Republican National Conference. While Clint Eastwood was doing his best to discredit Obama with an odd speech directed to an empty chair, the Obama campaign was coming up with a response. They tweeted a picture of Obama in a seat marked ‘President’. Put downs just don’t get better than that.
Superstorm Sandy was a bit of a watershed for social media. The disaster itself ripped through homes, businesses and city streets, but the social media reaction left two indelible marks. The first was the hashtag. You could be forgiven for assuming that the storm was actually called #Sandy, because that’s how it was most commonly referenced. The real highpoint though, came in its usage. People affected by the disaster used the hashtag to share information, contact loved ones and comfort one another. People often talk about the triumph of the human spirit, in 2012 that spirit came with a #.
The Facebook IPO
It’s hard to believe now, but there were points during 2012 when people genuinely thought Facebook was dying. After the IPO the share price halved in a few weeks. The social network and its owner were criticized consistently and there seemed to be real problems. Fast-forward to January 2013 and Facebook sits at a billion users and the outlook seems healthy. It may have looked like the Titanic was heading for an iceberg, turns out it was just some choppy waters.
KitchenAid Put the Wrong Person in Charge
People often make statements on social media that they really shouldn’t have. We exaggerate or we omit a vital piece of information. It’s human nature. On Twitter you’re never far from someone gleefully happy to correct you. The big mistake is when you say something foolish or insensitive on a company account. This mistake is compounded when you say it about the President of the United States. That’s what happened when a KitchenAid employee thought it would be funny to suggest that President Obama’s grandmother died before he was elected to avoid his reign as President. It was a misstep. And points to the need for proper social media management.
#Sandy and Clothing Brands
The superstorm gets two mentions in this post because it really did represent the contrasting uses of social media. While others were tweeting about finding shelter and repairing broken homes, Gap were tweeting those affected and asking how much online shopping they were doing. American Apparel chimed in with an exclusive online sale for those affected. It was misguided at best and disgraceful at worst.
This may be more of a personal thing. Parody accounts became a bit of a Twitter trend in 2012. And a lot of them are great. But parody and satire require originality and wit. They have to play against the norm. That doesn’t really work when there are 15 ‘royal baby’ accounts. If everyone’s telling the same joke it loses its meaning. So let’s just agree to leave the parody accounts, please.