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2012: The Year That Was…

It’s that time of year again, where we take stock of the year we’ve had and look forward to the one we’re about to dive into. In terms of tech and social media, 2012 has been an eventful year to say the least.
There was Facebook’s IPO, and the consequent shock of everyone, most of all those lucky shareholders at Facebook, when share prices failed to sizzle as predicted. And speaking of Facebook (which, if you hadn’t gathered, we did quite a lot of this year) the social network also made headlines in April by buying hipster darling Instagram, for no less than US$1 Billion.
Then there was the US Election (played out on a huge scale via social media), the furor both at home and abroad over a poorly-made, racist YouTube video, the Alan Jones debacle and of course, the text message turned 20.

Amid the big, news-making events there were also a series of connections that became clear over the course of the year. Bullying, both of the online and offlinevariety, became a theme this year. While we haven’t yet reached a conclusion, events such as the tragedy of Canadian schoolgirl Amanda Todd committing suicide, as well as the hospitalization of Charlotte Dawson – both the result of online bullying – have shone the spotlight on the severity of the issue.
It’s been a year that has force us to take stock of the way we act towards other people, and the fact that while a screen and keyboard might protect us when we hurl insults, it doesn’t protect the people we hurl them at.
There were also many more positive achievements and stories that we covered here on The Message, from Felix Baumgartner and his incredible space-jump, to the security tape that captured beautiful moments instead of horrible ones, and of course, the London Olympics.
One thing is for sure, if we don’t all implode on December 21st when the Mayan Calendar is meant to end, we’ll be in for a cracker of a year in 2013. Check out our predictions here… 5 Social media predictions for 2013
From everyone at The Message we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And while we don’t advocate this all too often, how about staying off Facebook, at least for Christmas morning? Now there’s a revolutionary thought…
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A vicious circle

The whole issue of social media bullying refuses to go away
Are people in the public eye really fair game? Just because somebody appears on television, does it mean it’s OK for others to pass judgement on them or bully them? In Australia, the Robbie Farah and Charlotte Dawson cases have become causes célèbres.
In the case of TV personality Dawson, a number of Internet and social media trolls (bravely hiding behind a virtual cloak of anonymity) felt it was perfectly OK to abuse her. Meanwhile, other people suggested on various social media forums that she had brought the attacks on herself by basically choosing to live in the public eye – and even that her subsequently revealed mental health issues were some sort of publicity stunt.
Are the people who post these kinds of things motivated by jealousy, that someone is ‘famous’ (whatever that means) while they are not? Have these celebrities signed some sort of Faustian pact whereby the price they pay for creating a public career (however vacuous and Kardashian-like said ‘career’ may be) is the right for anyone and everyone to pour vitriol on them?
In a way, the whole issue has become something of a vicious circle (with a dash of self-fulfilling prophecy thrown in for good measure). Now, those in the public eye are fighting back – and that fact alone is generating traditional and social media coverage, which will doubtless in turn generate a whole new round of trolling and response, trolling and response…
Here’s the latest response, from US TV anchor Jennifer Livingston. In truth, her response to a viewer who said she was obese is beautifully done – honest, heartfelt, reasoned, intelligent, passionate and even moving. Which in part explains why it has attracted over three million hits on YouTube.

As Jennifer Livingston points out in the video, October is anti-bullying month. The most popular article ever posted on The Message looks at how social media can actually help beat cyber bullying. It is clear, though, that there is still a long way to go.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.