The Biggest Social Media Changes of 2012
We saw major changes to the social media landscape in 2012, but now that users are accustomed to most of them, it may be easy to forget what they were. Here are the stories that social media agency experts are calling the biggest social media changes of 2012.
Facebook Timelines: TheFacebook Timeline officially launched in December 2011, but because of the gradual rollout schedule, many users did not see changes to their profile until early this year. Timeline, which replaced the Facebook Profile, organizes the content that users share according to the period of time in which it was uploaded or created. It then displays that content in a timeline that runs through the center of the profile page. By March 2012, all users – including Facebook Pages (aka fan pages) – were forced to convert to the Timeline format, to the dismay of many users and businesses alike. But like every change Facebook has ever implemented, the Timeline eventually became an accepted part of the Facebook experience. Once again, rumors of a mass user exodus were greatly exaggerated.
Clearly, with the addition of page and profile “Timeline cover photos”, along with the purchase and integration of Instagram, 2012 was Facebook’s year to stake out a claim in the visual and image-driven social space. Many social media agency experts even promoted the new format as a better way for businesses to use Facebook as visual-driven part of their social media marketing efforts.
The Popularity of Pinterest: The rise of Pinterest is another contender for biggest social media story of 2012 and also a huge driver towards making social networking more visual by nature. Although it operated in beta mode as it accumulated a user base in 2010-11, Pinterest did not become part of mainstream social media until this year. It happened early in the year, though, with a reported 11.7 million unique users in January 2012. In fact, comScore reported that Pinterest is the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. Now, the virtual pinboard site is especially popular with the female demographic and receives around 11 million visits each week.
Improvements to Twitter: As Twitter continued to move to the mainstream, the pressure was mounting for the micro-blogging service to make more user-friendly updates. And in spring 2012, it finally responded. The most welcome change came in the form of major improvements to the search functionality, which included automatic spelling corrections, related suggestions and results with real names and usernames. Adding “people you follow” to the “all” or “top” tweets is also a Twitter improvement that appears to be here to stay. Other Twitter updates included profile design changes, several improvements within their internal paid advertising platform and, for better or worse, dissolved relationships with some partners & 3rd party clients.
Despite these significant strides, many social media agency experts and analysts are still pushing for more changes to the landscape. Their demands range from better social media ROI to more meaningful ways to measure engagement than likes, fans and follows. Do you have any suggestions for how social media can be improved upon in 2013? Sound off in the comments below!