2012 was a big year for social media. New giants rose up while old giants faltered and fell. A ground breaking election campaign was also run in the US, with expert use of social media at its core. A number of Twitter faux pas were also made, and Amazon, one of the biggest cloud providers in the world, faltered when its services went offline leading to a number of prominent social media services going offline for long periods of time. This article will examine five of the biggest social media stories of 2012.
Pinterest, launched in March 2010, is an online photo sharing website. Much akin to an online scrapbook, Pinterest allows its users to collect and share photographs while categorising them into specific albums and collections.
Prior to 2012, Pinterest was a mere footnote on the list of social media properties on the internet. While growth was occurring, it was happening at a slow rate and the majority of the service’s early user base was made up of infrequent users who only visited the site on an occasional basis.
However, something changed in early 2012. In a short amount of time, Pinterest drastically increased its userbase. According to internet monitoring agency Comscore, Pinterest’s userbase grew by 4377% between the months of May 2011 and May 2012, thereby making the site the fastest growing social media website of the year.
Pinterest has quickly gained prominence as one of the most important social media websites on the internet. Its userbase is increasing at a steady pace and users are making full use of the site’s many features.
Already the third largest social media website on the internet, it’s likely that Pinterest’s incredible growth will continue into 2013 and beyond.
Facebook, the largest social network in the world, held its initial public offering, or IPO, on May 18th, 2012.
The IPO was a resounding success. Shares were being sold at $38 per share which put Facebook’s market worth at an incredible $104 billion.
However, it quickly became obvious that the shares were selling for more than they were worth. Within a few months, share prices crashed by as much as 50% and many investors were left short changed.
The fallout of Facebook’s IPO failure has been massive. Other technology stocks have also taken a hit, with investor faith in technology firms at an all time low. Over 40 lawsuits have been filed, too, as many investors lost out on millions of dollars in stock.
It’s likely that Facebook’s IPO failure will continue to affect the technology industry into 2013 and beyond.
Amazon EC2 outages
Web giant Amazon’s EC2 cloud hosting infrastructure took a huge hit in 2012. On October 21st, 2012, the EC2 infrastructure collapsed leading to social media giants like Reddit, Airbnb, Flipboard, and more going offline for as long as 24 hours.
This wasn’t the first outage for Amazon in 2012, either. Another outage on June 29th, 2012 also saw internet giants like Pinterest and Instagram going offline.
Amazon has committed to improving the reliability of their services with new backup solutions designed to keep websites online for longer during service interruptions. Whether their service improvements will be successful is up to debate. All eyes will be on Amazon in 2013 to see if they can prevent outages from happening again.
2012 saw US President Barack Obama being elected for the second time.
His campaign was revolutionary, with a crack team of marketers and social media experts carrying out thousands of split tests and market forecasts to make the best use of social media properties like Facebook, Twitter and even Reddit to help secure votes.
It’s likely that this election campaign will change the nature of all election campaigns in the future. The internet is far too big a juggernaut to ignore. It’s likely that, in the future, more focus will be put on using social media to its fullest to secure votes during election times.
Twitter faux pas
2012 saw many prominent Twitter users making faux pas that left them looking embarrassed and ridiculed.
A number of prominent American clothing manufacturers, including The Gap, Urban Outfitters and Sears, found themselves becoming the target of internet hatred after attempting to take advantage of the Hurricane Sandy disaster to increase sales.
Many celebrities and sportspeople also made faux pas on Twitter, including Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton who publicly disrespected his teammate Jenson Button on the popular social media platform.
Actress Alison Pill, currently starring in ‘The Newsroom’, made arguably the biggest Twitter faux pas of 2012 when she accidentally tweeted a topless picture of herself for the world to see. The picture was quickly retweeted and spread throughout internet communities like Reddit ensuring that it will live on forever as part of internet history.
2012 was a huge year social media. More users embraced social media platforms than ever before, Twitter faux pas were made, new social media platforms grew to prominence while old favourites faded away, and a revolutionary election campaign was run that made full use of social media elements.
Hopefully 2013 will be just as good a year for social media as 2012 was.
 – http://www.businessinsider.com/how-facebook-ipo-investors-got-screwed-2012-12
 – http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/22/amazon-cloud-outage-takes-down-reddit-airbnb-flipboard-more/
 – http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/29/amazon-outage-netflix-instagram-pinterest/
 – http://blog.hootsuite.com/election-tracker-results/
 – http://www.parature.com/lessons-learned-top-10-twitter-mistakes-2012/
 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/9593331/Lewis-Hamilton-apologises-after-accusing-Jenson-Button-of-disrespecting-him-by-unfollowing-him-on-Twitter.html
 – http://www.examiner.com/article/latest-twitter-faux-pas-the-newsroom-s-alison-pill-tweets-topless-photo
As a massive social media fan, Taylor, who works for cloud hosting company ElasticHosts, loves the fact that social media continues to grow and grow!