Friday Social Round Up: A look back at 2011

Written by Nazilla Allahiary - 30 Dec 2011

This year has been very eventful in the land of social, and with this being the final Friday Social Round Up of 2011 it's time to reflect on the year's developments.


This year Google had another attempt at social with Google+. The platform was launched on June 28th 2011 in an invite-only phase. The following day existing users were allowed to invite friends to create their own account, but due to the high demand this was suspended the following day. On August 6th each Google+ user was given 150 invitations to give out. Google+ was later opened to everyone on September 20th.

Unlike its predecessors, Google+ showed early success, reaching 10 million users in just two weeks and reaching 25 million unique visitors after four. The demographic for Google+ is predominantly men (71%) aged between 25 and 34.


Facebook Timeline

Facebook Timeline was officially rolled out in the UK last Friday but was available from September 22nd for those who could not wait and were willing to do the work around.

Apart from the cool cover photo (which finally adds some form of customisation to your profile), it documents everything that you have ever done on Facebook as well as allowing you to add important life events. It's effectively the ultimate digital scrap book!

In my opinion, Facebook Timeline is the best Facebook update yet.

Viva la revolution!

2011 not only saw new social platforms and redesign: it also helped spark a revolution.

After collecting, reading and watching millions of tweets, blog posts and video footage on YouTube, Philip Howard, associate professor in communication at the University of Washington, said that they found evidence to suggest that:

“ media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising... People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom.”

Professor Howard commented that the week before Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned, the total number of tweets about political change in Egypt increased 1000%.  He also noted that videos of protest or with political commentary went viral. The top 23 received nearly 5.5 million views. Content produced by opposition groups on both Facebook and political blogs increased dramatically.

In Tunisia about 20% of blogs questioned Ben Ali’s leadership the day he resigned, which was a 5% increase on the previous month, making revolution the primary blog topic in Tunisia.  In the two weeks after Ben Ali resigned there were about 2,200 tweets a day, while during the two weeks following president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation there was an average of 2,400 tweets from countries surrounding Egypt. This indicated that social users throughout the Middle East were joining in the conversations. The success of these uprisings led to people in other countries also taking action.

Philip Howard also said that “any government efforts to crack down on social media may have incited more public activism, especially in Egypt. People who were isolated by efforts to shut down the internet, mostly middle-class Egyptians, may have gone to the streets when they could no longer follow the unrest through social media.”

Beyonce baby bump

There have been a lot of big news stories this year: the death of Osama Bin Laden and Colonel Gaddaffi, the Japanese tsunami, flooding in Australia and the Middle Eastern revolution, not to mention the Royal Wedding. So it might be quite a shock that when Beyoncé revealed her baby bump live at the 2011 VMAs it became the most tweeted about topic of 2011: Beyoncé's growing belly managed to provoke 8,863 tweets a second!


Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Steve Jobs passed away just a day after the announcement of the latest iPhone. Jobs was the co-founder of Apple and also Pixar studios before it was sold to Disney. During his time at Apple, Jobs, oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone and iPad, as well as the company's distinctive Apple Retail Stores.

In 2003 Steve Jobs was diagnosed with a rare kind of pancreatic cancer, and despite receiving treatment for it and undergoing a liver transplant his health continued to decline. In August 2011, Jobs resigned from his position as CEO.

Steve Jobs died on October 5th 2011 at the age of 56. President Obama issued a statement about the passing of Steve Jobs, saying:

“...Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it... The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented...”


Infographic time

This infographic shows 2011 sharing trends.