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MANILA, Philippines - In 2012, social media was everywhere. In church, at school, on the campaign trail, in the toilet, and even in space, there's no escaping that post, tweet, or video.
The year 2012 can be remembered as the year social media's reach and influence grew tremendously. Facebook has more than a billion users; Twitter users post hundreds of tweets a second; dozens of hours worth of video are uploaded to YouTube per minute; and in hundreds more social networking sites, people share and post things nonstop, creating a chaotic yet exciting web of information that spans the whole planet.
From the US election to the trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, to "Gangnam" and "Call Me Maybe," to "Ermagherd," the year showed the power social networks and the promise it holds for the future.
Here's Rappler's social media wRap for 2012, highlighting some the most memorable topics and moments on our online networks.
HAPPY: Milestones and major events
History was made throughout 2012, from pop culture to diplomacy, from science to human rights - and social media was there, both as participant and spectator.
Some of the events that stood out were the elections in the US and in dozens other countries; the Olympic and Paralympic Games; the Curiosity rover landing on Mars; the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II; and the Higgs Boson discovery.
Here at home, our social media timelines were dotted with big, controversial issues and events, such as the Corona impeachment trial; the struggles of the Reproductive Health and Freedom of Information bills; the developments in the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; and the run-up to the 2013 national and local elections, to name a few.
From sports events to political issues to beauty pageants, we tweeted, posted photos and video, made comments on websites, posted blog entries, and even checked in, a way for us to directly participate and make our presence felt as history was made.
SAD: Tragedies and heartbreak
The year was also marked by sadness and heartbreak.
Social media brought us together when floods ravaged Luzon during the unnamed 'Habagat' rains; when 'Sandy' ravaged the Atlantic seaboard of North America; as Malala Yousafzai struggled for dear life; and when gunfire rang out of a theater in Colorado, in neighborhoods around Syria, and in a school in Connecticut.
We also mourned the deaths of people who mattered, from great artists like Whitney Houston, to politicians like Jesse Robredo, to legends like Neil Armstrong.
Accidents, crimes, disasters - people also poured their heart out online, comforting each other, helping each other deal with the grief and loss.
ANGRY: Online rage
We also vented our displeasure online, whether it was justified or not.
In many instances, we directed it towards issues, like the fight against online censorship (SOPA, PIPA, the Philippine Cybercrime law); at times, it was towards people, as was the case of the online indignation over Joseph Kony and the fight against bullies. We let our outrage and protest be heard, online, and in many cases, we emerged victorious.
There were times, however, that we acted like an online lynch mob, letting our rage get the better of us. We saw it in the case of the viral video "Amalayer" - we let our emotions get the better of us, and in the end, we ended up doing more harm than good. Even on the Internet, we do need to control our anger.
DON'T CARE and ANNOYED: From 'epals' to social media faux pas
Aside from the daily barrage of inane posts from people we call "friends" online, there were also standouts online that earned our collective annoyance.
There's the viral spread of "epaliticians," who have started their 2013 campaigns way before they even filed their candidacies; news of "deaths" of celebrities that weren't; the various Facebook hoaxes; and tactless posts from celebrities and companies.
Ruining a person's day was just a click away with these digital irritants.
AMUSED: Viral hits, from Gangnam to Donya Santibañez
This, it seemed, was the expertise of the Internet and social networks - making people smile and laugh. Viral hits ranged from marketing campaigns to music videos to memes, and we all laughed with every play and click and share.
Some standouts were the "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign; the memes that sprouted through the year, from the dozens of animal memes (mostly cats) to the "Donya Santibañez/ Facundo" series; viral videos, from dancing twin babies to men trying to dive through ice; and the top music videos online, led by this song from South Korea entitled "Gangnam Style."
AFRAID: Threats to Internet freedom
There were also times that people on social media collectively felt a chill down the proverbial spine, and in 2012, it was mostly caused by threats to Internet freedom.
There was the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its sister measure PIPA; threats to our online privacy and personal data, such as the changes in privacy rules in Instagram; continued censorship in authoritarian countries like China; and, here in the Philippines, the Cybercrime law.
INSPIRED: Social (media) good
Despite the craziness and chaos, social media also brought out the best in people and communities.
2012 will be the year we leveraged social media to help a sick MMDA employee; met the NYPD cop who gave his shoes to a homeless person; turned our clicks and likes into meaningful campaigns for victims of disasters, both man-made and natural.
We lent our posts to help victims of calamities and tragedies; we saw celebrities and common folk brighten the day of the terminally ill, differently abled, and many others who have less in life.
At the Social Good Summit in Manila, we talked about innovation, social media and social good.
Social media became an outlet to spread inspiration and cheer. Students got scholarships; children got footballs; people "paid it forward" by doing good deeds to honor victims of a school shooting.
As we became more and more immersed in the digital world, we also managed to put heart in social media, helping make lives better, one click at a time.
With more and more people joining social networking sites by the minute, social media will continue to get entangled with our lives. As we start 2013, we now look forward to another full year of memorable moments on the web. - Rappler.com
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