Top Social Media Moments of 2013

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It turns out 2013 was a pretty big year for Facebook and Twitter. If you thought this time last year that either was going to be old news by now, boy were you wrong. Sure, nobody uses Facebook any more, but it turns out that also at the same time everybody uses Facebook all the time.

When the Facebook IPO happened in 2012, it was ridiculed far and wide as a fiasco; in 2013, the Facebook IPO had made San Mateo County, California - the home of Facebook HQ - the top earning county in the country, surpassing the average income of Manhattan by 50 percent. So who’s laughing now?

In the land of 140 characters, Twitter started 2013 by launching Vine and ended the year with its own IPO in November that valued the company at $31 billion, which works out to $221.4 million per character of a 140-character tweet, which is like #craycray.

So, in this year when the social media bigs got social media bigger, what else went down? Here’s a quick tour down your Facebook timeline:

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Blockbuster Social Media Buys

In May, Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion, making everyone remember that Yahoo still existed and gave everyone an opportunity to crack the joke that now Tumblr has enough money to buy a vowel. Not to be outdone by Yahoo, Google snatched up Waze for $1.3 billion, thereby protecting its lead in the social mapping space.

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Snapchat Snaps Up Millions of Users

The social platform that allows users to send “temporary” pics to each other had a huge 2013 by rejecting a huge offer from Facebook for either $3 billion or $4 billion, depending on who you ask. Also, 10 teen boys got arrested for using Snapchat exactly how you think boys would use it, and law enforcement is totally looking at Snapchats because they are gross. That of course didn't stop some brands from testing the waters (Beefy Crunch Burrito anyone?).

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Upworthy Headlines Are Everywhere

What happens when a guy from MoveOn.org partners with a guy from The Onion and a former Facebook guy throws a bunch of money at them? Upworthy happens, a site designed to be both viral and progressive, a news site that is “curated” instead of edited with the focus on sharing across social media platforms. Like it or not, this stuff isn’t going anyway. Fastcompany announced in July that Upworthy had become the fastest growing media site in history by leveraging “emotional data” to become something like a BuzzFeed for the soul, or something. Be afraid.

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The Oreo Blackout Tweet

The 2013 Super Bowl between the Ravens and the 49ers will forever be known as the Blackout Bowl because the lights went out after Beyonce’s halftime show overloaded the circuits. During that 33 minutes of dead air, the social media team at Oreo showed the marketing world how you do real-time marketing with the big boys. The trick, it turns out, was that the creative agency 360i had the foresight to set up Mission Control in their office with the Oreo brand team present, so the design team could get the approvals necessary to launch the ad within minutes.

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The Myspace Massacre

Justin Timberlake bought Myspace from Rupert Murdoch and all of a sudden, he thinks he owns the place. When Myspace announced its new app platform in June, it also did away with all that old clutter from old Myspace -- you know, users blog posts, poems, photos of people now dead -- all gone with no notice to users. That caused enough of a backlash to force Team Timberlake to post this half-hearted apology page.

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The Atlantic Partners with Reddit

Reddit likes to slap itself on the back as the “front page of the Internet” even when it does dumb things like misidentifying the Boston Bombing suspects. So it’s not good for Reddit’s collective ego that The Atlantic has partnered with it to bring its popular Ask Me Anything format to DC as the “Ask Washington Anything” video Q&A.

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The Royal Baby Arrives

What happens when an heir to an historic royal bloodline is born in the age of social media? We found out in July when the birth itself was announced via Twitter: “The Dutchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son...” an announcement that caused Twitter to go into “meltdown” as well as all other social media platforms, including an unusual confluence of Instagram with an older form of media - framed parchment on a gold tripod.

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Obama Inauguration 2.0

In another sign that heralds the normalization and mainstreaming of social media, NBC News used social media aggregation to report on the inaugural ceremonies that marked the beginning of President Obama’s second term. During the 2009 inauguration, there were about 82,400 tweets with the #inauguration hashtag; in 2013, there were 1.1 million #inauguration tweets. That’s a big jump. And speaking of big jumps, the top social media moment of 2013 must belong to...

Commander Hadfield Conquers Space

Canadian astronaut (yes, they make those) Chris Hadfield broke the Internet in May when he posted to YouTube (from space!) a music video of him performing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity;” it’s been viewed 19.5 million times since May. Naturally, he’s on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. This is what will symbolize 2013 in the annals of social media history: a mustachioed Canadian singing a David Bowie song in zero gravity to the delight of millions.

What was your favorite social media moment of 2013?