Enough already, yes social media is massive

When we are all old and grey and watching BBC17’s “The Best Things of the 21st Century” the year 2011 will probably be highlighted as the year Social Media really hit the mainstream.

Everywhere we look there are representations of social media (and told about how big it is). And it’s no real wonder, half the population is on Facebook and it is due to be floated for an eye-watering $100billion in 2012 (already giving Bono $800m profit). Social Media really isn’t new any more, it’s here and it’s absolutely massive.

Social Media and Politics

2011 saw social media have a real impact on global news as well as on the worldwide lexicon. At about the same time that The Social Network was winning Oscars and Golden Globes the countries of North Africa and the Middle East were starting to call for regime change in what has become known as the Arab Spring. Social Media outlets such as You Tube, Facebook and Twitter were utilised to make these calls, highlight the plight of the people and gain media momentum from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya through to Yemen and Syria.

Because of this, Libya became the fastest growing country on Facebook for the second half of 2011.

2011 also saw the release of Wiki-Leaks which spread rapidly through social media, this placed as one of our favourite campaigns of the year.

London Riots and Social Media

Here in the UK we had our own mini-uprising. Violence, looting and riots took place on the streets of London, Manchester, Bristol and beyond. The blame by some was put conveniently at the door-step of social media, many of those same observers felt that social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook should even be switched off in times of emergency. Yes social media is an extremely useful way to get information to a large source quickly, but you can’t blame a communications device for social ills. These extraordinary knee-jerk arguments were quickly put into perspective when social media was used help with the clear up of the riots as well as belittling some of those that were involved.


Social Media for Sky1 Got To Dance

For IP we had an amazing start to the year offering 24-7 live social media interaction for Sky One’s flagship show Got To Dance. People would tweet or make comments on Facebook and seconds later the IP team were feeding the information through to the show’s presenter Davina McCall. It was an extremely rewarding and innovative experience.

That experience in part got me, Sam Silverwood-Cope, invited onto the BAFTA jury for Digital Interactivity award, which Davina won with Million Pound Drop.

Since working on that show and others for ITV, we have kept a close eye on TV and its presence in social media. It seems to be everywhere. Every primetime show has a “Follow Us” on Twitter or use “The Hashtag”. If you saw Kirsty’s Allsop’s Homemade Home show, a social media call to action came up every 5 minutes. Our hints and tips were also used in Broadcasting magazine on this very subject in response to the Twitter COO.

Social Media in 2012

Hopefully in 2012 Social Media will mature a bit, get over the amazement of how big it really is, and get on with making quality dialogue. High level campaigns will excite us all and really aid business growth at the same time. This year has been a bit of a land grab amongst agencies, with little understanding or real explanation.

We predict that Facebook will continue to thrive but businesses may move on to something new. Plus watch out for the ever-powerful blogosphere, they are the new media giants – Facebook may be the blue whale but the blogosphere is the great barrier reef.