2011 in social: we went there, we got the T-Shirt

What we watched

Until about 3 minutes ago I had managed to go the entire year without knowing, hearing or caring about who or what Rebecca Black is. I now know that she’s that teen who has the mum who paid for her song and music video to be released. The one with the video that became a viral hit earlier in the year.  The one with the number one most viewed YouTube video of 2011. Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

Maybe you’d like to watch it?


Anyway, the only positive thing that I can take from this is that the video has over 306,000 dislikes opposed to 80,708 likes.

(Personally, I cannot believe that any of the others beat no.10: Cat Mom Hugs Baby Kitten which has to be the best YouTube video of all time, and let’s face it, YouTube’s reason for existing is cute pet and baby videos.)

What we searched for

The fabulous [note to self: download sarcasm font] Miss Black makes the UK Top 10 Fastest Rising People list. Interesting when you consider that all she did was produce a painful video which happened to go viral as everyone linked to it to pour collective scorn on the thing. She even beat celebs who were in the news for actual important reasons – like dying and TigerBlood and marrying people called Wills.

She didn’t do too well on the fastest rising searches one though. Beating only Ed Sheeran [Googles Ed Sheeran…oh I like him, he did that music video with Rupert Grint]. Sorry Ed, I should have taken the time to Google you before, and then maybe you could have beaten her.

The second fastest rising search was the mythical iPhone 5 which caused a bit of a storm when it failed to materialise as rumoured. Apple gave us a pocket version of HAL instead. *shudders* But all is not lost – iPhone5 is said to be being released in March 2012.

What we tweeted

2011 has been a year of huge, world changing events, and while we may have turned to Google and YouTube for a bit of light relief, it looks like we discussed some of the more important issues on Twitter. The number one hashtag was #egypt, reflecting the way that social media was used in reporting the events of the Arab Spring.

Twitter also highlighted its best stories showing how people have used the social network over the last year, including how the organisers of the post-riot clean-ups used it, and, apparently how fishermen in Japan are using it to sell their catch while they’re still out at sea.

What we discussed on Facebook

What’s interesting about Facebook is that we’re mostly having discussions with people we know – or at least chances are that we know them better than we know our Twitter followers. The top ten global topics discussed in 2011 are a mixture of world news (such as the death of bin Laden at number 1) and lifestyle topics (like the Packers winning the Super Bowl at number 2).

and now…some fail …

Special award for #fail goes to…Qantas

In August Qantas gave away free tickets to the Rugby Union Bledisloe Cup. All the two winners had to do was take a picture of themselves with their favourite player Radike Samo with themselves in their own Samo costumes. Unfortunately, the picture, which was tweeted by the airline, offended many and prompted a Twitter backlash forcing Qantas to apologise.

October brought strikes, grounded planes, twitter trends, fake Qantas twitter accounts and criticism for poor social media response. In all, it couldn’t get much worse for the airline.

In an attempt to get back in favour with disgruntled passengers and revive its tarnished social media reputation, Qantas launched a Twitter competition in November. Participants could win one of 50 sets of first-class PJs and something called a “luxury amenity kit”. All they had to do was describe their dream flight in a tweet with the hashtag #QantasLuxury. It’s a shame it came just after the industrial dispute that stranded thousands of passengers around the world. The campaign was used to savagely mock the company, with one Tweeter christening it “The Hindenburg of social media strategies.” Ouch.

Festive #fails and wins

This years Christmas epic failure of a TV ad is provided by Littlewoods. The ad basically said: “Look kids, we all know that Santa’s a fraud. Want an iPad2? Get your mother to buy you one. If she can’t afford it, she can always take advantage of our convenient credit options. Still won’t get you one? Well, in that case she’s just a miserable old scrooge. So BAH HUMBUG to her!”

Shockingly it didn’t get such a great response from parents, hundreds of whom complained to the ASA. Threads calling for it to be taken off air were created on Mumsnet and hate pages were set up on Facebook. In response, Shop Direct, which owns the brand, told Campaign Live that: “The great thing about social media is it does allow people to have their say and we welcome and listen to feedback at all times on our sites.”

However, at the same time people were accusing the brand of deleting negative comments posted on its Facebook page. Littlewoods denied this, saying that they were getting caught up in the spam filter, and anyway, they were hardly getting any negative feedback. But, either the brand was being overrun by critical comments and couldn’t keep up with checking the spam folder, or it just forgot or didn’t have the capacity to check it regularly. Either way people noticed something wasn’t right.

The great sentimentality divide was revealed in this very office when we saw the John Lewis ad. The office cynic (that would be me) thought it was cloyingly over sentimental. The office softie couldn’t be reached for comment because she was too busy saying “aww bless” and weeping into a Kleenex (Kate – I’m looking at you).

The best Christmas advert has got to be the fantastic Harvey NicholsWalk of Shame’.



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