In 2011, social media gave legs to the 'Occupy' movement and mass protests in the Middle East.
It ended the careers of many high profile politicians, damaged celebrity images and gave us a place to mourn the deaths of our idols like Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Taylor.
An increasing number of Americans took advantage of social media by using it as a job networking tool.
Social media has made bullying inescapable, but this year, it has also become an important tool to try to deal with the problem of bullying itself.
Here's a look at other ways social media has shaped 2011:
OCCUPY MOVEMENT: Twitter and Facebook continue to be the driving forces behind these protests. The 'Occupy' movement was born on Twitter when people became fed up with our government; they also refer to themselves as "The 99%", and started using hashtags to organize mass protests. According to Twitter statistics released in October, over 100,000 different hashtags have been used to discuss the movement. Some demonstrations have been peaceful, others have sparked violent riots with police.
GLOBAL UPRISINGS: From the Occupy movement to the Arab Spring, people used social media to try to make a difference. Through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, people in Egypt and Libya were able to come together and topple dictators. Check out this article for a look at images from some of the biggest uprisings organized with social media.
FACEBOOK CHANGES: 2011 saw some of the biggest Facebook changes since the site launched. And the most radical profile redesign yet is happening right now as our walls turn into a Timeline . The changes led to an outcry from users. But like always, people began to accept the new look and stopped complaining about Facebook on Facebook. According to The New York Post, the latest leaked figures suggest that Facebook is on track to bring in $3.3 billion in revenue and $1 billion in net income for 2011. That’s double what it earned last year.
: Although he won't admit it, Mark Zuckerberg probably made all of the changes, added more apps and partnered up with Skype and Spotify out of fear. This year, Google finally gave us a social networking site worth paying attention to. Google Plus
rolled out with cool features like Hangouts, which allow users to live video chat with multiple people at a time. A few days ago, those hangouts became even more appealing after Google made them available on your mobile device. And we can't forget that Google this year also launched a rival to Apple iTunes: Google Music Store.
#WEINERGATE: It should be common knowledge that anything posted to Facebook and Twitter isn't exactly private, yet this year we saw even more social networking slip-ups from high profile politicians. The biggest scandal involved former Rep. Anthony Weiner after he "tweeted" a photo of his, well, his last name pretty much says it all. Weiner, eventually resigned.
TWITTER HASHTAGS WERE SO HOT THIS YEAR: Speaking of #Weinergate, this year, hashtags existed far beyond the tiny box of "Trending Topics" we see on Twitter.com. For every major news story, the Royal Wedding (especially Pippa's backside), hashtags started showing up on our television screens. #Tigerblood and #egypt made Twitter's list of top hashtags for 2011 . And this year, we even saw networks and local news stations jumping on the bandwagon by creating their own hashtags to drive the conversation for big stories to their social media pages. It's a "trend" that will likely see more of in 2012.
: A woman flying from New York to Florida shot to Twitter fame because of a picture she took of the space shuttle launch from outside the plane's window. Stefanie Gordon (@Stefmara) posted that photo to Twitter and almost immediately, it was retweeted by @BreakingNews, an msnbc.com account with 2.5 million followers, and by @NASA itself. Click here
for more behind the amazing shuttle Twitpic.
How do you think social media shaped 2011?
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