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My 2011 Top Social List

Another year to start collecting items for review next year. In the mean time should we look at a bit of what went down in social media last year?

Usually I can’t be bothered with year-end lists. I used to spend all of New Years Day waiting for the top song of the year in the 100 countdown. That of course was soon ruined when they started to publish the list in the local newspaper before even song 100 was near a turntable.

These days that type of list seems outdated and archaic. It is, but then why do we see top news stories for 2011 all over the place. And why are they all different? To answer the first point is, people love lists. For the second point, it is all conjecture my padawan. All just an opinion, or collection of opinions.

So in a review of 2011, I thought I would offer up my own items from the social landscape which I though important. But in no way are these ranked, just numbered in a random way.

1. Arab Spring
Last January a small street vendor in Tunisia died from his wounds in his self ignite during a protest against his oppressive government. Today people are still dying in places such as Syria and in the past 12 months, we have seen dramatic change in the Middle East. The Arab Spring as the western media defined it was catapulted to the forefront by the use of social media as a catalyst for getting out the word. Twitter and Facebook enabled people to come together for change and to make the world listen to their pleas.

2. Idiots Posts
What can one say here other than “What were you thinking?”. Mostly they weren’t or using a system to manage posts but not double checking where things were going. Here is some of the idiot posts this year:

  • Anthony Weiner’s Crotch Shot
  • Chrysler’s Twitter tweet regarding Detroit drivers
  • Gilbert Gottfried’s jokes about the Tsunami in Japan
  • Kenneth Cole’s smart ass tweet about Egypt riots
  • Ashton Kutcher backing the wrong side on the Joe Paterno firing.

3. Google Plus
With a jolt and a bang on a sunny day in June, Google got into the proper social media game with it’s new Google+ platform. The service has now grown to more than 40 million users. So contrary to some internal wrangling that Google did not “get platforms” maybe the finally have. A Facebook killer? More like a Pepsi to go with your Coke. The epic battle is not as hot or as big as early reports said it was going to be.

4. Google Plus Pages
Finally in November Google got its ass in gear and allowed for businesses to set up pages on Google+. Before this, one had to set up a profile only as their real name. They could use the name of a business as a profile (Firstname: Billybobs; Lastname: Taxidermy) but you risked having the profile deleted.  Though pages are less than two months old, it still is a great time to get in and play around with your brand to see if it is right for your organization and see what works. Just don’t rely on it as your official social channel – yet.

5. Facebook Fall Backlash
Usual story: Social manager recommends how to fix or find something on Facebook to someone in a response. This is rebutted as “I can’t find that”. The next thing is a rather embarrassed response – “Looks like Facebook removed/ changed/renamed/moved/banished/ /mutated that function. Will have to find out and get back to you.”

In the early fall, Facebook went about it’s usual changes with out notification to its users, however this time, the changes were quite encompassing and created a firestorm of complaints (PCMag reported 86% users demanded a return to the old format). CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not help matters when he outlined additional changes, including the upcoming Timeline and other service integrations at a Facebook conference soon after the upgrade. #FBconfusion

6. Facebook Timeline
By now everyone should be able to get the new timeline. The revamp of your profile allows you to catalogue your life and be even more narcissistic about your Facebook posts.

Initially it was launched with some problems in legal naming being in conflict with a sub par ‘timeline’ service, which threatened legal action. Developers could opt to install it early, but only other developers who installed it could see your new profile.

That time did allow FB to do some changes between October and December when the original and actual scheduled releases happened.  Thought there is some backlash again over change and privacy, these issues are the norm.

7. Twtter and the Arab Prince (or A Fairy Tale Ending)
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia formally announced a $300 million investment in Twitter, which makes waves on a few fronts. First, I don’t see the weight behind the argument that it is in an attempt to limit the use of Twitter or censure it in Arab League States. I think it is more about a wise investor (and one of the top 30 richest people) seeing opportunity like he did with Citicorp, News Corp and real estate. Look for Twitter to benefite with this investment in 2012 and hopefully use this to bank roll its ever over the horizon IPO by fall.

8. Covered in Bacon
If you have not seen it yet, then you really don’t know what it is like to miss out on the bacon train. The Ultimate Dog Tease took off on YouTube (and subsequently throughout twitter and Facebook) like a rocket for Halifax based Andrew Grantham. A good friend and former college, this clip and the #2 slot on Youtube for 2011 show that with talent (most importantly talent) and fortitude, accessing an entertainment market is changed for good. If I was in distribution, I would be looking elsewhere for employment.

And that is it. Nope – no 9 or 10. Think that lists are what they are and if you have to add something that just does not warrant being there only to round out the numbers, well I suggest you tune into your AM radio and start searching for that top 100 countdown. #DonnyandMarieAnyone?