Social Media News for April 2012

In the lightning-speed world of social media, news happens fast. And with businesses and casual users alike depending on Internet and mobile culture every day, even small changes can have dramatic effects. Here’s a look at the latest social media happenings making headlines across the globe:

Facebook

It’s impossible to discuss social media without bringing up Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth site is a marketing source, a communication utility, and a reunion vehicle all rolled into one. Facebook enables users to create multimedia profiles, chat with friends, send private messages, post public status updates, share links, and more. It is status quo for any serious business to have a Facebook presence these days, so that potential customers can follow their activities and learn about special deals, some of which are offered exclusively on Facebook.

This month marked a milestone for Facebook. The network hit a benchmark of 900 million users, and the number is rapidly soaring towards 1 billion. And Facebook is acquiring more than just new users these days; the company recently purchased 750 patents from IBM, and has announced plans to spend $550 million on 650 Microsoft patents.

In a move that stunned the world, Facebook also spent $1 billion dollars to scoop up the fledgling Instagram, a growing mobile application that had yet to turn a profit. More on that later.

As quickly as Facebook is expanding, it seems to be stalling out in one area: public trading. The IPO-hopeful was slated to go public on May 15, 2012; now, word has it that would-be shareholders must wait until June. The reported reason?  Zuckerberg has been too distracted with his acquisitions to stay on track.

Instagram

Instagram, an under-the-radar photo application with no advertising, jumped to the top of the buzz list after Facebook gobbled it up out of the blue in April 2012 for $1 billion. The free app allows users to snap pictures with their mobile phones, and then use filters to instantly make them look like they’re from past decades like the ‘60a and ‘70s.

The day after Facebook’s unanticipated acquisition, five million new users downloaded Instagram within a period of six days. The remaining question is: what will Facebook do with it? Experts speculate that the app will remain largely intact, although there’s a high probability that it will soon run ads.

Pinterest

Catching the tech world by surprise, Pinterest jumped to the #3 slot on the social-media traffic leader board in recent weeks, replacing longtime-favorite Youtube  (Facebook and Twitter have first and second place, respectively). The content-sharing service calls itself a “virtual pinboard,” allowing users to “pin” images that link to videos, blogs, products, recipes, and anything else they think the rest of the world will enjoy.

On April 13, 2012, Pinterest posted a blog announcement addressing concerns over spam. This was a response to user complaints that sellers and affiliate marketers were abusing the system by creating misleading “pins.” The post offered online security guidelines, and encouraged users to report suspicious accounts.