2016 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter

If there’s anything this class has taught me, it’s that social media is an ever-changing, ever-growing magical beast that no matter how much it’s studied, it will never be fully tamed. But for those with the gumption and the resolve to tackle it and respect its power, it can be used to do so much good for an individual, and organization, and even the world.

2016 was a ridiculous year for social media, and as we enter squarely into the beginning of December, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of what I like to call “rewind season.” This is the time of year when listicles and countdowns abound, looking back on the best and worst of the past year in preparation for the new one. And boy, oh boy, did this particular revolution around the sun give them something to talk about.

2016 was a beautiful dumpster fire. Image from Imgur.

Social media in 2016 saw conflict and change, both good and bad. The top ten most popular trending topics were diverse, ranging from the obvious (the Super Bowl, the Olympics), the fun and ridiculous (what ever did happen to Pokemon Go, y’all?), the political (Brexit, Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippines, Black Lives Matter) and the downright crazy (2016 presidential election) and the sad (Muhammad Ali, David Bowie).

In all of these events and so many more, social media played a pivotal role in changing the way our culture communicates and how we as individuals perceive the world around us. When the fake news epidemic shook up public discourse this year, I believe it marked a turning point in the way journalists, social media professionals, and marketers will approach this medium in the coming years.

Ragan’s PR Daily published an article on the top skills needed for success as a marketer. In addition to writing, data analysis, and decisiveness, it highlighted the importance of social media savvy, saying that social media is “an integral part of overall marketing strategy.”

This isn’t just funny cat videos and quirky text posts anymore; understanding social media has become a valuable marketing skill, and taking this class has shown me just how much more there is to learn.