20th December 2013

Social Media: The Moments That Made 2013

By Jess Matthewman on Friday December 20, 2013

525,949 minutes: that’s all it takes to make a year, and with 4,000 tweets per second that makes 2,102,400,000 (that’s two billion, 102 million, four hundred thousand) opportunities to create controversy, spread joy, share frustration and even change the world. And that’s just on Twitter; try to imagine all the other social networks and how many posts these are clocking up each second. It’s enough to make your mind boggle, and to make your Internet Explorer crash.

2013 has been quite the year for many of these social networks, and they’ve been cemented even more as the number one source for news for many people. They’ve also extended their offering to brands looking to market themselves in fresh ways. So, to celebrate another successful social year, here’s a list of the top five biggest moments of 2013!

5. Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon

Seems so long ago doesn’t it? But it was just 5 months ago that Andy Murray became the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry. Twitter and Facebook both burst to life with congratulatory messages – as well as the obligatory memes that captured Murray’s emotions during the match…

It seemed the Sport’s Personality of the Year judges were impressed though, as he also walked away with this title. Oddly enough though, this resulted in a bizarre tweet from main sponsors, Adidas:

A back handed compliment or a dig at his critics? It’s not quite clear…

4. The Boston Marathon Bombings

An example of how quickly news travels in the age of social media was seen this year after the Boston bombings, where before the mainstream channels had begun reporting the incident, locals at the scene were updating their family and friends via Facebook timelines. A quarter of Americans also received their news on the matter through social networks. However, the bombings also reminded us that social media is taking a steep learning curve when it comes to reliable information sharing: early posts reporting the bombers had been arrested proved to be untrue, and images of a potential suspect where wrongly identified as a missing student, resulting in an apology from Reddit.

3. ‘Selfie’ Little did Instagram user JenLee know what she was doing when she posted what seems to be a typical picture of herself on Instagram back in 2011, but from this post the #selfie was born!

Fast-forward to 2013 and ‘selfie’ is the word of the year and every celebrity worth their fee on Big Brother is taking them, as well as the rest of us. I’d rather not see the behind of Kim Kardashian or a semi-naked Rhianna again, so instead I’ve chosen Barack Obama to illustrate how ‘selfies’ really are taking over the world:

Mind you, Michelle Obama doesn’t look too pleased about it…

2. The Death of Cory Monteith

The untimely death of Glee star Cory Monteith sparked an emotional tribute from girlfriend Lea Michelle, which went on to be the most popular tweet of 2013, with over 408,000 retweets across 133 countries. The young star’s passing resonated with millions and shows how social media is now used to communicate more than just everyday chat.

And finally, the number one most impactful moment of 2013 was…

1. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus created a whole host of social media storms over 2013: the pop princess chopped off her hair and shared it on Instagram, caused controversy at the VMAs and hit 300,000 Twitter mentions per second (the most in 2013), and bared all on a wrecking ball which smashed over 419,000,000 views on YouTube in the process. Miley Cyrus truly has mastered the art of using social media as a PR tool and defined herself as the image of rebellion. Good twerk, I mean, work, Miley. I just wish she would put that tongue away.

So, that’s my take on social media 2013 but the list is far from extensive – what do you think I’ve missed?