By Jamie Butow
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you're enjoying this day with your loved ones. As I am doing that very thing (no doubt buried in a pile of wrapping paper thanks to Grandma and Papa spoiling their grandchild), I thought this would be a good day to use this space to reflect on how we've used social media and how it has changed in 2012.
So, in no particular order, here are the social media events and changes for 2012:
1. Pinterest: This site continues to experience phenomenal growth. Search Engine Journal cites 400 percent growth month-over-month. Even the White House joined Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/Whitehouse). And even though we were a little late to the party, you can find us at http://pinterest.com/bakersfieldcali.
SEJ also notes that American users of Pinterest spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on the site.
2. Instagram: The popular photo-sharing site continued to grow -- to the tune of more than 5 million photos uploaded every day, according to Business Insider -- and was bought by Facebook. This led to a bit of some ruffled feathers at Twitter who added filters to their photos earlier this month in an effort to compete.
Then Instagram attempted to modify its terms of service, but the public outcry caused it to pause and rethink things. So now your photos won't appear in advertisements. Things are still falling into place, so we'll see where they land in 2013.
Follow us in Instagram @BakersfieldCali.
For ongoing updates on this, see my Facebook page at Facebook.com/JamieButow2.
3. Facebook: The most popular social network of them all went public and quickly lost money for founder Mark Zuckerberg. It was reported that Zuckerberg lost half his personal fortune as shares went for $18.75 at the initial public offering.
Then again, HubSpot.com reported that 80 percent of social network users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
Find a listing of all our Twitter and Facebook pages at Bakersfield.com/social_media.
4. Twitter: Surpassing the 500 million user mark, Twitter has the market cornered on mobile users with 50 percent of them accessing on a mobile device.
Twitter became an important player in the November presidential election, with a record-breaking 31.7 million political Tweets.
And what is the most followed brand on Twitter? YouTube, with 19 million followers.
And speaking of ...
5. YouTube: Think about YouTube and the top three things that come to mind are Psy's "Gangnam Style," CarlyRae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and cat videos.
The 7-year-old video site is continuing to reinvent itself, and more and more people are turing to the internet to view news, television and movies.
Remember KONY 2012? That video broke records and was the most viral video of all time, racking up 100 million views in just six days.
Then there's Psy's "Gangnam Style," horse-dancing into history as YouTube's most-viewed video of all time, hitting the 1 billion mark just last week.
We use YouTube to host our videos (http://www.YouTube.com/BakoTube) and have seen big numbers this year, including more than 22,000 views for our interview with Cindy Lee Garcia on her participation in an anti-Islamic video that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad negatively.
And that's a look a the biggest social media stories in 2012. Did I miss anything? What do you think was the biggest development this year?
Ponder and discuss as you let your Christmas dinner digest and comment or send me a note with your thoughts.
See you in 2013!