Social Media Changes in 2013

Dec 24, 2013

social media 2013 recapIn 2013, the landscape of social media changed quite a bit. While some social media outlets changed more than others, the majority of the changes seemed to come down to algorithms, advertisements, and business changes. When Twitter went public on November 7, 2013, they saw their stock price soar to $50 a share, which is quite a hefty price tag for the first day on the market. Instagram is now offering ads, which is something they never did before, and Facebook’s new algorithm and advertising options raised eyebrows for some. All in all, this was a year to be remembered in social media.

The Stock Market is a Twitter

As mentioned above, Twitter went public on November 17, 2013. Originally, they had stated they would open at $26 per share. But by the end of their first day on the stock market, Wall Street had clearly shown its love for the micro-blogging site as their stock price rose to $50 per share. As of December 23, 2013, that stock price is $62.83, and it is likely that it will only rise in the future. While it might not have directly changed the way people use Twitter, the social media giant’s emergence onto the stock market scene makes them very competitive with sites like Facebook, and it will be interesting to see how this changes the way social media companies do business in the future.

Facebook’s New Algorithm

Oh, algorithms, the necessary evil of the SEO and social media world. Facebook made many cringe when they announced that they would be rolling out a new algorithm which, in theory, would give priority to news-based posts and push other, less informational posts like memes and Bitstrips to the bottom of the news feed. As pointed out in this Washington Post article, Facebook is the least transparent of all social media sites when it comes to their algorithm and how they work. In a sense, no matter what you do to design something that is meant to go viral, you’re at the mercy of Facebook engineers and what they deem as worthy. While some have claimed that this new algorithm will be good for users who are tired of seeing cats with captions and poorly animated cartoons of their friends via Bitstrips, others find it alarming on principle alone. Twitter is straightforward. You tweet something, if people like it they Retweet it, and so on. It’s organic, transparent, and the engineers behind how Twitter works by and large allow the process to go along naturally. Facebook, on the other hand, with their remarketing ads, catering to advertisers (some claim at the expense of customer privacy), using people’s Facebook photos to promote products, and so on, seem to do very well at keeping the specifics of how they work the “man behind the curtain” of the social media Oz. What this algorithm will do, and when it will really be released, is still in question, but it will be interesting to see how users respond.

Instagram Introduces Ads

Instagram has long been loved for the fact that it didn’t cater to advertisers, and was a place where people could share photos without the chaos and chatter of corporate goings on that accompany sites like Facebook. But this year, Instagram introduced advertisement in the form of “sponsored ads” to their platform. September was the first point in 2013 at which Instagram mentioned on their blog that they planned to introduce advertisements. Come November, they gave a bit more detail, and now it seems that ads on Instagram will be a regular occurrence. However, people don’t seem to be that upset about it because it’s done in such a subtle way, and keeps transparency intact. Note the “sponsored” icon on an ad and know that it’s from the brand name mentioned; easy as pie. If you don’t like it, tell them, and you won’t see it again. How users will respond once ads really start becoming mainstream business on Instagram is yet to be seen, but it was a big change in 2013, and the roll-out is yet to be seen.

Many changes occurred in 2013 in the world of social media, and 2014 promises to be equally revolutionary. With more and more tension between Twitter and Facebook, an increased rate of monetization among social media platforms, and younger users leaving big-name sites like Facebook for the likes of Instagram and others, the potential for very dramatic changes in 2014 is there, and only time will tell how these changes will continue to affect the world of social media.