Here we go; the big 2011 wrap-up of changes to the social landscape. Dive in, remember, and look forward to 2012, as this year has been one filled with massive changes to the space, and the next promises to be just as big. For the rest of the year, check out Q1, Q2, and Q3. Enjoy!
- YouTube Launches Politics (10/6): Looking for politicians’ platforms, blunders, and defining moments? Look no further than YouTube Politics, launched in the first week of October. Everything you need to keep track of who’s in the lead and who’s falling flat leading up to next year’s election.
- Foursquare Launches Radar (10/12): Radar is a sign of maturation rather than just an app update, and it includes several logical and useful mechanics for Foursquare users. The app will now notify you if you are near a To-Do, or if a place on a List that you follow is around the corner, or if several of your friends have just checked into the same place only minutes away. Makes sense, right? Oh, and they changed the dodgeball from purple to green; don’t freak out.
- Facebook for iPad (10/10): The Facebook iPad app was a long time coming, and it lives up to the billing. Chat, scroll through bigger photos, discover new messages, events, and more on the left-hand navigation bar, and find out what you need to know now with the new notification tray. That said, Facebook applications still aren’t functional through the app; updates to come, no doubt.
- X-Factor Enables Voting on Twitter (10/25): This award show certainly made social a key element in the voting aspect of the show. Fans could vote via DM to @TheXFactorUSA or through their Twitter social microsite, and they could join the conversation using the hashtag #XFactor. Another award show, the People’s Choice Awards 2012, would incorporate Twitter into their social activation on a larger-scale, as users simply had to tweet or retweet a nominee with their category hashtag. As live TV gets more interactive in social, the fans win.
- Twitter Launches Stories (11/1): On the first of November, Twitter launched their first installment of a new series called Stories, where they highlight different tales of Twitter helping people accomplish things in life, from saving a bookstore to selling a fish moments after it’s caught. Stories big and small can be submitted to Stories, and anyone can do it, simply by mentioning @twitterstories or including #twitterstories in a tweet. A nice way for Twitter to both humanize the brand and highlight real stories that showcase Twitter’s value.
- Groupon IPO (11/4): Groupon finally IPO’d early in November, following other players earlier in 2011, and initially was met with positive market reaction, followed by a slow decline. We’ll be following this one throughout 2012.
- Google+ Launches Pages (11/7): As most predicted, Google+ launched Pages in the middle of Q4, and they seem to borrow best practices from Facebook Pages, Twitter Profiles, and YouTube Channels. Anyone can create a Page, and businesses can put their best customers into circles and levels, host hangouts to launch new products or answer questions, and share new content with followers. As we said earlier this year, it will be really interesting to see how businesses leverage Google+ for B2B and intraB.
- Foursquare Launches Expertise Badges (11/14): Whether you see this move as a gimmick to keep folks interested in badges, or as a legitimate evolution of the badge system that Foursquare has perfected, there is no doubt that it’s fun to unlock badges. With the update, certain badges will display expertise levels as you visit more and more of those venue types. Get your badge game up!
- Foursquare Expands Deal Partnerships (11/29): Specials have given Foursquare an edge in 2011, as they continue to add new partners, this time with Scoutmob, and throughout the year with AmEx in June, Groupon in July, and others. Foursquare will continue to stay relevant and gain users as both Specials and consumers’ mobile buying habits mature in 2012.
- YouTube Gets a G+ and Facebook Facelift (12/1): YouTube gave itself a facelift in December, rolling out a Facebook-esque left-hand navigation, along with incorporating a newsfeed of Google+ +1′s and shares, in addition to YouTube uploads and likes. Twitter, Facebook, and Orkut integrations make the new YouTube a social video hub.
- Facebook Acquires Gowalla (12/2): Early in December, rumor had it that Facebook had acquired the location-sharing service, Gowalla. It seems that the Gowalla developer team will now work on Facebook’s Timeline feature, with some moving to the Palo Alto office and others moving to Facebook’s Austin office. A nice acquisition that certainly brings talented minds to Facebook so that it can further incorporate location in future updates.
- Twitter Announces Brand Pages (12/8): In the second week of the month, Twitter announced that they would be rolling out brand pages, similar to those on Facebook and now Google+. This seems almost like ‘too little, too late’ as Twitter feeds are easy to leverage and deploy elsewhere on more robust digital brand properties. That said, it seems like a good investment on their part and should give them more to offer to their advertising partners. More to come…
- Zynga IPO (12/15): Zynga opened mid-month with a very poor performance, as compared to the other tech company IPOs from 2011. Zynga’s business model is sound, and the poor showing may be more tech IPO exhaustion than anything else; however, we will definitely be watching this one closely throughout 2012.
- Facebook Timeline Rolls Out (12/15): One of the biggest changes during the quarter was saved until the last few weeks of the year, as Facebook unveiled Timeline to users’ profiles globally, followed quickly on 12/18 with the mobile roll-out. A massive change not just for users, but for agencies and developers, as ideas began swirling around on how best to leverage the new Timeline for brand integrations. Additionally, and more importantly, this was my birthday.
There you have it; the fourth quarter of 2011 in all it’s glory. Let’s wrap up with links to all of the major players’ summaries; take a look at the hot topics, watch some of the top videos from the year, and get cracking on your New Year’s resolutions.