Top 5 Social Media Announcements of 2011

By: Mallorie Rosenbluth   Trying to recap a year in social media is like trying to recap an entire decade in most other industries. It seems this medium moves at the speed of light and every time you turn around a new network, social-focused app, or shake-up in our favorite networks are making headlines.  As the end of the 2011 quickly approaches, we here at Likeable wanted to provide 5 of the biggest social media announcements to come out of the last 365 days.

1)      Google Plus launches (and proves that not every new product Google puts out is destined to be a flop):  After the substantial failures that were Buzz and Wave, Google decided it was finally time to take on the social media world. In June, the then invite-only platform launched and saw 10 million users sign up in the first two weeks alone and now boasts numbers near 40 million. The world was a bit confused about how exactly to leverage the network, but everyone had the sneaking suspicion that this wasn’t just another here today, gone tomorrow effort from Google. With the hope that search and social were about to form the perfect network, users stuck around and brands stood near with baited breath. Just last month, the network introduced brand pages with launch partners including CNN, Pepsi, Macy’s and others.  Thus far, brands are still working out how to best leverage the network, but with features like circles and hangout, and the ability to share both long and short-form content, this was the biggest network to come out in 2011.

2)      Facebook Announces BIG changes at September’s F8 conference: Not to be outdone by new networks, the reigning king of the social media mountain waited until its F8 conference to make some of the biggest changes of its 7+ years. It’s hard to pick a top announcement of the conference, but highlights include:  the launch of new “gestures” (action words other than “like”), re-emphasis on applications, partnership with brands like Spotify, Netflix and Hulu, and new features like the ticker and timeline. It’s the timeline, though, that proves to be the biggest potential shake-up when it launches to the Facebook community at large. For the full recap on F8, check out my blog here.

3)      Biz Stone leave Twitter: In June, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, decided to leave the network and pursue other projects. While the blog post announcing his departure promised that he would stick around to help where and when needed, he made the decision to devote the majority of his time on new endeavors. Stone now joins Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey on the list of Twitter execs who have stepped down from the leading roles (though Dorsey re-joined the Twitter ranks earlier this year). Time will tell if Stone will see success with other projects, but we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on what he has up his sleeve.

4)      Klout revamps score measurement (social media geeks freak out): Back in October, you may have noticed that many social media fiends in your life were crawled up, hiding in a dark room, murmuring about their score dropping 10 points or more. Not sure what they were referring too? Well it was a change Klout made to its algorithm that helped or, in some cases, hurt users overall influence scores. Ash Rust, the platform’s Director of Ranking, called the change the biggest move towards accuracy, transparency and technology that the platform had ever taken. Regardless, users were in a tizzy over the changes they saw, but took a close look at Klout’s insights into what was helping and hurting their scores, another new feature of the changes.

5)      LinkedIn goes public: Let’s rewind to May. May 19th, to be exact. LinkedIn went public and began selling shares for $45 a pop, valuing the company at 8.9 billion dollars by the end of its first day as a public organization. This announcement came 2 months after the company announced hitting 100 million users. This makes this top 5 list because LinkedIn marks the first of the social sites to go public, with rumors of Facebook’s IPO being right around the corner.

The social media world is never lacking big announcements. Did your top moment make the list? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to keep adding!