The biggest social media stories of 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012 | Donna Tam | CNET
Social media hit new heights this year; Facebook reached 1 billion users, many people in developing nations are logging in to social networks as soon as they get Internet access, and the companies behind these digital communities are starting to make money off the sites.

The big players of social, namely Facebook and Twitter, are ubiquitous in everyday life. Mainstream news outlets cite the social networks as sources of information and commentary on live events. The Olympics, the presidential election, disasters such as Hurricane Sandy -- social media has become an integral part of how such events are recorded and how communities respond. Along with those big events, social networks continued to shape how people work and play, with this year's biggest news showing the latest ways social media has entwined itself in our lives.

1. Social shopping comes of age
In 2012, shopping sites relied heavily on social media to build communities around retail, while social-media sites started making money off users shopping. Though sites like fashion-centric Polyvore -- which hit a new financial milestone this year -- have long understood that user-generated content is the best type of advertising when selling products, companies like Fab and Fancy took social retail to another level this year.

Fab, a flash-sales site, closely wove social media into its shopping experience -- the company said it was gaining 1 million users a month, with 50 percent of its member sign-ups coming from Facebook referrals. The Fancy, a Pinterest-like site that lets users bookmark things they like and then links those items to online stores for purchase, built its commerce services on top of a social experience. Then there's the big daddy of social media, Facebook. The company launched its Facebook Gifts gifting service this year, letting users send real-life gifts to their Facebook friends without needing their addresses, and opening up a new way to make money.

Read the original article here: CNET

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