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2011: The Year of Social Unrest

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Events That Shaped 2011 Via Social Media

2011 was the year social media exploded and influenced our lives in many ways. Through technology, we have become more individualized and separated, however, through social media, we have the ability to communicate relationally -- to rally around causes, voice our opinions and to be heard.

To state it more correctly: Living has become social again. Or, so it appears.

Big companies who once thought they were immune realized that social media greatly impacts their brand because they cannot control all mediums and channels of communication. In 2011, we saw a politician make life-altering decisions that impacted his career, an actor who lost his job realized he could monetize social media, and we saw the death of one of the most well-known pioneers of today's technologies.

So what does this all mean for 2012? Well, I don't have the answer, only time will tell, but if 2011 was any indication, we have a roller coaster of a ride ahead of us. Fasten your seatbelt, friends. 2012 promises to be a fun year!

Below I have compiled a short list of events and happenings in 2011 that greatly influenced the way we think about social media.

Google+
• "Real-life sharing rethought for the web." That's the slogan for the much-thought rival to Facebook. Now you can create network "Circles" consisting of friends, co-workers, and family. Google is seeking to revolutionize the use of social media by allowing people to be in control of what information they share. As of December 2011, Google+ has 60 million users, and over 400 million members. I wonder if these days Mark Zuckerberg is able to sleep soundly at night?

Occupy Wall Street
• It started with one message: "On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices." Some people say that the movement seems to have no purpose. Or, does it? Fed up with social and economic inequality, and the fact that the richest 1% of the population continues to get richer. All the while, the 99% (the rest of us) are the ones struggling; this movement has spread to other cities and across the world by use of social media. With a simple Tweet or Facebook message, this organization is gaining attention. Perhaps, social media is not as useless as people thought. As our Constitution says: "We The People Of The Constitution..." Certainly, the 99% should have some say right?

Charlie Sheen
• With nearly six million followers on Twitter, Sheen brought to prominence the idea that you can be paid to send messages via Twitter. When Sheen was having the meltdown of the century (understatement of the year), he took to Twitter to share it with the world. Big brands seized the opportunity to capitalize due to the media attention surrounding him, paid Sheen to tweet about various products. Something tells me that everyone involved made money.

Steve Jobs
• The CEO and co-founder of Apple is widely recognized as the pioneer of the personal computer. He passed away this year after a long battle with cancer. Twitter and Facebook users paid tribute to Jobs by posting moving messages remembering his accomplishments. His passing makes us think about our own mortality and that no one lives forever, even someone as genius, accomplished, and as iconic as Steve Jobs. If there is anyone due a tribute via social media, it certainly was Steve Jobs.

Social Media Magazines
• Is print really dead? I think not! Created for small business and entrepreneurs, four new social media magazines: Tweeting & Business, LI & Business, the Big G & Business, FB & Business. With 14 million subscribers, these magazines launched their premiere issue in October 2011 prove that print isn't dead after all, if a publication adapts and utilizes the online space. Print copies are still available if you want them, but the magazines are FREE online. You can't beat that price!

Anthony Weiner
• The former Congressman accidentally posted pictures of his manhood via Twitter. He intended to send it as a direct message, but instead it went to all of his followers (and the rest of the world). At first, he denied that it was his image and denied that he sent it. He finally caved and admitted that it was in fact an image of him. More pictures were released, and the women that he sent messages to spoke out and were interviewed by the media. Weiner resigned in shame. My guess is that members of Congress are being extra careful with their social media usage. That's all she wrote. Or tweeted.

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