Top Moments in Social Media

I was doing some research the other day and decided to see if I could find the definitive moments in social media.  I was able to find numerous yearly top 10 reviews but didn’t have much success finding a list from the early 2000’s to today.  So even though I didn’t find  “the” top moments, I did find some moments that I think would at least be on the list for consideration.

  1. iPhone is Launched
    Prior to the iPhone launch cell phones could access the internet ..the iPhone just did it phenomenally better. From the touch screen, to the emergence of apps, to actually being able to read a website on a smart phone, the iPhone took mobile by the hair and dragged it from cool to useful. 

    It didn’t take me long to pass my Blackberry on to my wife so that I could sport an iPhone.

  2. Iran Election Protests
    There have been revolutions and protests in closed nations before. Twitter though gave a face to the Iranian elections protests, allowing previous restricted content, photos, and stories to make it past the media monitors and filter to the masses. 

    Lack of a free press is no longer a hindrance to the truth being told or shown.

  3. 1st You Tube Video
    America’s Funniest Home Videos, still running after 21 years, proved that people would engage in home made content. You Tube took it to another level allowing your average Joe to record a video from his cell phone and share it potentially with the world. What was once a site focused on entertaining video content has now become the number two search engine in the world. If you want to know how to do something, what better way to learn then to watch a video of the process. 

    It all started with a 18 second video talking about why elephants are cool …because they have really long trunks.

  4. 2008 Presidential Elections
    In the 2004 presidential elections Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and LinkedIn were just getting started or had not even launched. What a difference four years made. Love him or hate him you can’t deny that Barack Obama and his campaign truly leveraged the new tools available to them.  After the 2008 election, election politics have entered a new era. 

    I can’t wait until 2012.

  5. Facebook Allows Non-college members
    Facebook was successful as a social network for college and high school students, but at some point it was destined to hit a growth wall. Opening up membership removed any restrictions and from August of 2008 to August of 2009 Facebook added 200 million members. Facebook’s fastest growing segment is currently females age 45 to age 65, likely joining Facebook to keep up with children and grand children. Businesses and professionals have also jumped in head first, and its proving its value to drive bottom line results. 

    Now we just need to come up with a better solution for businesses other that fan pages or community pages.

  6. 2007 SXSW Launches Twitter Over the Tipping Point
    In a stroke of genius the folks at Twitter placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages. Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant tweets, panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance spread the word. During the event tweets per day went from 20,000 per day to over 60,000 per day. The conference and buzz generated from it gave the service the traction it needed to grow. 

    Three years later over 4 billion tweets were sent in the 1st quarter of 2010.

  7. TGIF Fan Woody Promotion
    In September 2009 TGIF launched their Fan Woody promotion promising a free hamburger to every new fan if they reached 500,000 total fans by September 30. They quickly passed that goal and added over 1 million new people. In the process they generated a ton of exposure from the press, bloggers, and individuals passing the promotion on to friends and family. 

    TGIF showed its possible to quickly build a mass following with a great offer. The next step is to show that they can continue to engage and sustain their new fans.

  8. LinkedIn Adds Functionality to Groups
    LinkedIn groups have been around for a while but initially they were little more than places for members to join. There really wasn’t much functionality to the groups. In November of 2008 that changed. They added the ability to post discussion questions and news articles. Another key addition was that they finally added the ability to search for groups, making it easier for people to find relevant groups to join. 

    With these changes groups became a valuable way to connect on LinkedIn and to extend your reach. If you belong to the top fifty groups on LinkedIn you would be able to reach out and communicate with 4.7 million people.

  9. Naked Pizza Drives 20% of their Business Using Twitter
    A pizza restaurant with a Twitter account isn’t that exciting, but when you add that they credit Twitter with driving 20% ($200,000) of their revenue it makes you pay attention. Naked Pizza started tweeting in April of 2009 and within a few months had built up a significant local following. A one day Twitter promotion drove 69% of that days sales. 

    The key to their success is that they have focused on building their local following, communicating engaging messages sprinkled with promotional offers, and tracking every sale to determine which resulted from tweets. It doesn’t hurt that they created a all-natural, reduced-calorie, multi-grain, probiotic pizza that is not only healthy, but tastes good.

  10. Broken Guitar Leads to 10 Million Bad Impressions
    Dave Carroll’s guitar was damaged by baggage handlers with United airlines. When the airline refused to replace or pay to repair the guitar he took his case to court …the You Tube court. Dave wrote three songs about the experience and made videos for each which he put on You Tube. Those videos have now been viewed by 10 million people. 

    Hmmm, $3,500 to replace a guitar or 10 million bad impressions. Its getting harder for companies to hide from bad service.

If I had enough time I could easily list another 10 or twenty moments, but I do have a real job.  If I had to choose my favorite it would either be Naked Pizza or David Carroll’s videos.  I work with small businesses so the Naked Pizza story resonates.  Plus being from New Orleans its nice to see more good news coming out of the city.

As a consumer I love that Dave was able to take a situation that was out of his control and take back control.  In true lemons to lemonade fashion his simple protest became the differentiator that has broke his career into a new level.

What are some moments that you think could be added to the list?  (be sure to include a link if available)

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Published by

Sean Nelson

Sean has been a Keynote speaker at Norvax University, conducts social media workshops and webinars, and has released three books on LinkedIn and written several social media guides. Sean currently runs Social Media Sonar, which in addition to providing free resources, manages social media strategies and tactics for companies. He is also a partner in Surge Labs, a conversion rate optimization company, helping companies improve conversions and profitability through scientific testing of Landing Pages, Websites, Email communications, and Shopping Carts.