2012 saw many of the major social media platforms make changes to their respective networks. Often labelled as ‘improvements’, some of the changes caused more harm than good, as they were not always aimed at improving the user experience. Let’s take a few minutes to recap the changes:
Facebook has changed a great deal over the last 12 months, with more emphasis on the look and feel to users and page owners. The introduction of cover photos, highlighted posts, offers, company milestones, and viewable applications on business pages, ensured that page owners could build a more engaging arena to promote their brand.
Other changes, which again only really impacted page owners, was the more detailed insights that Facebook could provide, as well as an overhaul of the advertising platform and tweaks to its Open Graph developers platform.
Like Facebook, the changes Twitter implemented in 2012 were visual. However, the main difference being that the changes were used to take advantage of the mobile generation, the people using Twitter on the move. This included making the pages more lightweight, cleaner, and simpler.
As for its advertising potential, Twitter launched its branded pages and hashtags for businesses. NASCAR was the first, and it looked great. Another big change that Twitter made was its separation from LinkedIn, much to the annoyance of LinkedIn users, and its API development to Facebook which allowed for better posting of rich media.
Still an infant, in comparison to the others, Google+ still managed to reel off several major improvements to its platform during 2012. They concentrated on three key areas: visuals, user experience and integration.
Some visual changes, including a header image and adjustments to how videos and other media are viewed, were implemented early in the year. While Google also emphasised its trending topics and explore section, enhancing the users experience.
The biggest changes that I saw was Google+ being more closely integrated in to Google (mainly its search component). Rel=”Author” was just one of the big things in 2012.
Probably the quietest out of the four, in terms of major changes during 2012, but I did see a rather nice profile change. One of the biggest things to happen on LinkedIn during 2012, as previously mentioned, was the inability to tweet directly on to your profile.
A couple of minor changes that were implement in 2012 were to individual profiles, and company pages. These changes had an importance to LinkedIn’s search capability, allowing companies and users to be found more easily.
Now, what the hell will 2013 have in store?
I’ve got a funny feeling Facebook will hit us with a huge redesign. The guys and gals over at FB will no doubt be looking at how they can better make the transition from desktop platform to multi-site platform (Facebook Nearby is a good example of this), allowing quicker access via their mobile app.
Facebook will also be looking at other ways they can increase their revenue. They are currently churning out lots of options, but to detriment of the user experience. I believe 2013 we’ll see a more thoughtful Facebook.
As for Twitter, they will be seeking to develop and roll out their branded pages, as well as a number of other advertising options to aid revenue.
Google won’t stop the integration between its social media platform and its search function. The relationship between these and other Google products like Local will become stronger.
LinkedIn will remain focused on its users, but will work a lot more on the functionality of its business pages, especially in terms of search and exposure.
What to you think will happen? Can you think of any huge changes to these social media giants?