FWIW: A Social Year In Review

It's that time of year again. 
Looking back. Holding our breathe. Peeking around the corner of the oncoming year. Getting scared and then looking back again. Some call it "A Year in Review, " but I think of it more like a wrap-up report; identifying metrics, trends and hopefully learning from mistakes. The best part? Celebrating victories. Small or large, life should be more about celebrating and growing than shrinking from fear. 
It's also a time of welcome quiet and reflection. The last few days have seen horrible national tragedy that I'm not yet ready to tackle in prose, so please join me in looking back and cultivating hope for the future. 
With that, please don't take too much from this post. Keep in mind that it doesn't mean much because it's all in the past. It's really indicative of how much time we collectively spend online and what content we share while we waste spend time online. For what it's worth, I present the year in social review...
The most popular tweet to date came from President Obama, containing three simple words of victory:  “Four more years.” Retweeted 810,000 times,  the second place Tweet was a message shared from Justin Bieber about the devastating loss of a 6-year old fan. The Biebs continues to claim the title of Twitter King and until maybe Kate's new baby get it's own handle.
Twitter released it's top trends for 2012 via Washington Post. It's a little sad and a lot predictable and truth be told, kinda boring, but I get bored easily. I'm never really interested in anything social jokers like Pope Benedict XVI or Kim Kardashian have to say in life or in Twitter, but the facts don't lie. Twitter has spoken.

Are you looking to find Facebook's review of 2012 or are you really looking for YOUR year in review from Facebook's point of view? Either way, you are covered. Start here and check out what FB had to offer our annual collective content: From Superstorm Sandy, the elections, Whitney's death and the Olympics, it's all captured from open graph data. Make sure to not overlook the overwhelming fact that Facebook grew it's international audience to over 1 billion this year. That's big news for Facebook.

But what about you? Learn how to take a look at your biggest social moments via the year in review page that allows you to see your top moments of 2012. If you want to take a closer look at your social activity in general, head over to Vizify.com and create a collaborative account that will pull in data from across your own social graph and throw it all together on a cute little customized page. More to come from that type of algorithm in the future. Cheers to that; the future, that is:) 

Last Wednesday, Google released it's Zeitgeist 2012 Video on YouTube. It's gained nearly 4m video views already and that's pretty funny, considering IT'S ALL OLD NEWS. Whitney Houston topped the list of more than 1.2 trillion global searches. None of the other most popular search terms turned out to be a surprise to me, and I bet it's the same story for you. Still, it's entertaining and should be included in any story about how 2012 will be remembered. 

A leading destination that seems to be the most corporate-approved site for daily news consumption, Yahoo pulls in content to display a live feed of trending images, stories, tweets and such in their Year in Review news page. It's a good place to catch a global glimpse of what has been covered, but offers little creativity and probably the most annoying Advertorials ever. 

Pinterest, Instagram and other image-based social sites
2012 was just the start. Pinterest just launched it's business strategy recently and walks folks and brands through steps to start taking advantage of this emotionally-driven image-based existence. Instagram users and brands are just starting to monetize the channel. 2013 will see more integration, development and all-around improvement in how users use their mobile devices and hardware to soften the heavy blow of having less human interaction over more social engagement by concentrating on uploading images. Of life...and enjoying life. Showcasing life over social media channels means committing time and resources to managing those channels and that really means spending less time enjoying life. Pinterest, Instagram and other social sharing image-based social sites are allowing people the perception of blending the two things together better than any other channel thus far. Expect a good deal from these show-stoppers in 2013. Including building (p)interesting image strategies.

Ahhhhh YouTube. Providing video content to the masses. 2012 saw continued growth in how people consume video and 2013 will undoubtedly extend that growth into untapped areas as consumers desire to control their digital journey becomes ever more powerful. The funny thing is that the content isn't evolving as fast as the consumer expectations are. You want to see what everybody else watched this past year? Okay. You want the best branded ads of 2012? Got it. You want boring, imaginative or stupid human acts of the decade? Check. You kind them all on YouTube. One way or another, all good video content ends up on YT. That's the power - and the price - of digital freedom.

Social Media in general
2012 was the year of social networking, many have said. Last year's year in review told stories of how social media would become mainstream and more part of the American BAU (business as usual) landscape than ever before. It has. Some would even say that social media, in general, transitioned into mainstream media this past year. Here is a wrap-up report of the ten best social media campaigns from 2012. So what should we expect for 2013, for social media in general? More sophistication, says HispanicBusiness.com and I tend to agree. Not just because I earn a paycheck in the arena of social media, but because it's a fact that can't be disputed. Like those horrible Advertorials on Yahoo.com, we gotta get better at engaging content and social campaigns or we run the risk of becoming last year's trending topic that fell flat just as soon as the next hot topic bubbles up. My hope is that social networking, social interactivity and eCommerce will continue to do nothing but evolve. As practitioners (and humans) we want to do all that we can to be prepared and enlightened, but let's face it. We never know what is truly coming until we commit to rounding that corner and taking it all head-on. It's the art of discovery. For me, that's part of the appeal of social. And life. 

Here's to celebrating 2012 and looking forward to making each day of 2013 a little better, one tweet at a time.

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