10. The Social List
After publishing the “rich list” for over 25 years, the Sunday Times decided to ride the social media influencer wave with the launch of the Social List in May. Similar to PeerIndex, Klout, and Cision’s very own influencer score, the Social List measures your online influence according to various social media metrics. Like most things Times, it’s hard to tell what’s going on behind the firewall, but the Facebook page says 20,000 active monthly users and who am I to argue?
Valued at $13bn dollars on its November IPO, the “online marketing sensation” that is Groupon defied a rising tide of questions about the validity of its business model for participating companies. During the second-half of 2011, Groupon faced another set of questions, after the Advertising Standards Authority referred a series of complaints to the Office of Fair Trading relating to a mere 48 contraventions of ad regulation.
Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 took just 16 days to rack up $1bn worth of sales following its November release, making the latest instalment in the classic first-person-shooter series the fastest-selling game of its kind ever. Name recognition and a devoted fanbase clearly helped, but the viral pre-marketing was just as classic, with a series of dramatic leaks – which Activision had absolutely nothing to do with – starting as early in May.
One of Britain’s top political bloggers Iain Dale anounced late last year that he was giving up blogging. An elaborate hoax? A tendentious stretch of the definition of blogging? Whatever, Dale returned mid-year with Dale & Co, a networked political magazine-cum-blog – or “mega-blog”, if you will – featuring of over 100 bloggers and writers.
Yeah I know… Bowles had this one on Wednesday but I am laying claim on it too because Wikileaks is in my area.
Huffington Post UK launched in July. Arianna claimed it was the British blogosphere’s engagement in social news that drew her to these shores. A more sceptical observer might suggest other motivations: a successful three-year programme of localised sites in America; a profitable foray over the borders with HuffPo Canada; the lack of language challenges in the UK market. And coming soon: Le Huffington Post.
From the world-domination of AngryBirds to the recent acquisition of Gowalla development talent – peppered with perennial privacy controversy – it has, as usual, been quite a year for Facebook. But one chapter stood out – its partnership with Spotify. Since September, Spotify users have been afforded the pleasure of “frictionless sharing”, Facebook users pushed the other way the joys of old-school, interruptive advertising – and Facebook itself a business model that might just work.
After failing to set with world alight with Orkut and Google Buzz, Google made a rather more convincing attempt at its very own social network in June with the introduction of Google+. Since launch it has grown to 50 million users, but the size of that rather more crucial active-user base is not known. Is the early focus on corporate users a sign that all is well? Or is it desperation?
Social media was both blamed and praised for its part in the UK riots in August. Rioters and looters used Twitter, Facebook and the seemingly unlikely Blackberry Messenger to orchestrate events across a number of British cities, prompting several high-profile politicians to call for a social media crackdown. Luckily they weren’t listened to, as a couple of days later social media brought more positive people together as locals arranged neigbourhood cleanups.
In May hell broke loose in the twittersphere as a number of UK celebrities were named and shamed for their superinjunctions, a legal ruling supposed to ensure their absence from mainstream media. One Twitter user leaked ‘true or untrue’ gagging orders and was quickly followed by tens of thousands of other tweeps, giving the tabloids licence to report the unreportable, albeit obliquely. The whole house of cards came crashing down soon after, and the legal establishment is still picking up the pieces.