Portent’s 2012 Social Media Year-in-Review

There was a lot going on in the world of social media in 2012 (see: This entire post).

But the world is ending TODAY* – like, anytime now. While you wait for the apocalypse, this blog post will be one of the last things you read. And it may just be the last year-in-review thing you ever read.

Mayan Apocalypse Tweet

* If you’re reading this and it’s past December 21, 2012, then please kindly disregard almost that entire first paragraph.

So let’s get to it. Below, you’ll find a major news story for each month of the year and a lot of brands screwing up.


Publisher Survey: Reddit Traffic Way Up, Digg Way Down
By Adam Sherk

This data didn’t come as a surprise, yet it certainly is striking to see in visual form. And 2012 continued the trend: Reddit has entered the mainstream. Proof? President Obama held an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit in August.


Twitter Begins Larger Rollout of Enhanced Brand Pages
By Colleen Taylor, GigaOM

Did anyone else think Twitter brand pages would be a bigger deal this year? Instead, Twitter released redesigned profiles for everyone.


Going Viral on Pinterest: Driving Big Traffic and Making Pinterest a Real Marketing Solution
By Colby Almond, SEOmoz

Pinterest exploded during the early part of the year, and Colby Almond’s SEOmoz post is a must-read for marketers. In it, he covers everything from instructographics and viral content to the popularity algorithm and submission timing.


LinkedIn’s Surprisingly Sexy New iPad App Proves This Company Gets Mobile
By Jolie O’Dell, Venture Beat

Social networks were really busy updating their apps this year, and I’d argue LinkedIn absolutely nailed it with their slick UI. Other standout redesigns: Mobile apps from Flickr and Foursquare.

Foursquare Explore


Facebook’s Buying Instagram for a Billion Dollars
By Kyle Wagner, Gizmodo

This was huge news in May, and it continues to be after it was reported Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom agreed to a deal with Twitter before accepting Facebook’s offer. Then, of course, December happened – Instagram updated its terms of service with language that it would sell users’ photos. Despite a quick retraction, this probably wasn’t the end of the year that the mobile photo giant envisioned.


Mobile Facebook Ads Generate 13X More Clicks Than Desktop Ads
By Pamela Vaughan, HubSpot

Social advertising got a lot of attention in 2012. GM raised eyebrows in May when they stopped advertising with Facebook right before the company’s disappointing IPO. Over the year, Facebook has introduced and tweaked promoted posts and sponsored stories, and the data presented in this HubSpot post shows us mobile sponsored stories are outperforming desktop ads. We even performed our own case study of Twitter ads last month.


Twitter Inching Closer to Giving You All Your Tweets, But Search Has a Long Way to Go
By Matt McGee, Search Engine Land

There wasn’t a timetable for this back in July, and I certainly wasn’t holding my breath. But kudos to Twitter – a downloadable archive of your tweets is now rolling out slowly.

Tweet Archive Request


Olympic athletes score big on Facebook
By Lance Whitney, CNET

Is it fair to call the London games the first “social Olympics”? Whether you were on Facebook or Twitter in August, you couldn’t get away from the NBC tape-delay bashing, medal counts and event live-tweeting. And then there’s this: American gymnast Gabby Douglas saw her Facebook fan base grow by 3,960% during the games (from 14,358 fans on July 27 to 582,912 on August 12).


Twitter Policy’s Latest Victim: If This Then That
By Pete Pachal, Mashable

Every social marketer’s favorite tool of the year, If This Then That (IFTTT), took a hit when its abilities to interact with Twitter were removed. Even without this Twitter integration, IFTTT should definitely be on your radar as a time management tool.


5 Tips for Using Google+ to Boost Your Marketing
By Jason Miller, Social Media Examiner

I’m including this post because of its fourth tip: “Set Up Google Authorship for SEO Benefits.” If you haven’t done this yet, make it a New Year’s Resolution because you’re behind the ball. (Also see: Doug Antkowiak’s guide on Search Engine Journal.)

Google Authorship Bryden McGrath


The Social Candidacy
By Ian Lurie, Portent

How could I not include the presidential election on this list? The debates and Twitter, voting-day maps from Facebook and Foursquare, President Obama’s re-election picture being the most retweeted ever – social media played a huge role. Moreover, Nate Silver’s Ian’s hypothesis from his research on Facebook’s influence on the election was spot-on.


Starbucks’ #SpreadTheCheer Spreads Ire Instead
By Vanessa Doctor, Hashtags.org

As always, brands continued to shoot themselves in the foot using social media:

  • Starbucks’ #SpreadTheCheer campaign
  • McDonald’s #McDStories campaign
McD Stories Tweet
  • Personal tweets showing up on the KitchenAid and StubHub accounts
KitchenAid Obama Tweet
  • Snickers paying celebrities to tweet
  • American Rifleman’s pre-scheduled tweet after the Aurora shooting
American Rifleman Aurora Tweet
  • Celeb Boutique’s tweet after the Aurora shooting
Celeb Boutique Obama Tweet
  • Everything Chick-Fil-A touched
  • American Apparel, The Gap, Sears, and Urban Outfitters during Hurricane Sandy

If this whole Mayan apocalypse thing doesn’t happen, then we’ll be right here with you to find out what 2013 has in store for social media. And since I can’t get enough of year-end blog posts, stay tuned next Friday for Portent’s very own list of our most popular social media blog posts of the year.


Honda Mayan Apocalypse Facebook Post
Honda Mayan Apocalypse Facebook Post

Well done, Honda.

What did you think of social media in 2012? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to share your 2013 predictions.

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