Social Media 2008: That Was The Year That Was

twitter error2008 has been a busy year and a good one for social media and in the maelstrom of a million stories, memorable tittle-tattle, memes, mini-memes and just plain nonsense here are a handful of stories that I’ll remember. They might even be ‘significant.’

The Faceparty Hissy Fit
A sense of humour failure from the people behind Faceparty resulted in, quite simply, the most breathtakingly arrogant attack ever seen by a community host on a community, I’ve ever seen. Funny, sure. But a really useful reminder to keep smiling and not publish anything while you’re angry. We’ve all written stuff like this and circulated it to colleagues for a giggle. But publish it? Not so much.

Drudge Blows Harry’s Cover
The Palace thought they could keep Harry’s presence in Afghanistan a secret by striking a good old-fashioned agreement with editors and publishers. They reckoned without Drudge who broke the story and served as a useful reminder of the increasing importance of bloggers and how the ‘old media’ ways might not work in the 21st Century.

Mayhill Fowler, Obama and Elitism
The story of how Obama-activist Mayhill Fowler struggled with her conscience about whether to publish comments made by Obama regarding how smalltown folk cling to ‘god and guns’ on a Huffington blog illustrated how the lines between bloggers and journalist are blurring. Apparently fundraisers have always been ‘off the record’. Not any more.

Burmese Blogger imprisoned for 20 years
Nay Phone Latt was sentenced to 20 years in prison for publishing a cartoon critical of the regime online. Not everyone is as free as we are.

The BNP membership Mash-ups
The BNP lose their membership list and before you can say ‘racist bastards’ it’s all over the web and geeks had shared it and started mashing it up. Some of the BNP maps were better than others. This episode highlighted two things. In the popular media, the net is seen as the wild west where civil concerns for privacy and politeness are not observed. Secondly, a geek with a bone will get on and do their thing asap and reflect on whether they should only as a secondary concern.

Flickr and Twitter come of age in Mumbai
As the drama and horror of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai unravelled, traditional media lacked the bite and proximity of the updates people on the ground were posting on Flickr and Twitter. It was compelling and the coming of age for citizen journalism.

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