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A digital round-up of 2013

I think 2013 has been the fastest year of my life. It must be a sign of getting older.

So here we are - approaching the end of yet another year and looking ahead to next year. We all know that 2014 will be a big year for Scotland including the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and decision-making time in September.

Oh, and not forgetting Beyonce's two-night stint at the Hydro in February and my wedding in June. 

Getting back to 2013, I thought it'd make sense to recap and reflect on the last 12 months and remind ourselves of the trials and tribulations that we witnessed on social media this year.

Vine vs Instagram

I mentioned in a blogpost back in March that Twitter's Vine was the new kid on the block. Vine was the first app of its kind, allowing you to capture and share short looping videos on your iPhone. It proved a hit with international fashion brands as they showcased backstage footage during London Fashion week back in February. 

In the early days, Vine looked to be off to a promising start with a strong user base and high download numbers - that was until Instagram joined the party. Facebook introduced Instagram Video by adding 15-second looping videos to their successful, stylish photo-sharing app in June.

I found myself among the users moving away from Vine and making Instagram my one-stop-shop for sharing photos and videos. I find that it saves on the hassle of juggling two separate accounts via different applications.

Instagram also wins hands down for me as you can also add their trademark filter to videos, and let's face it, 15 seconds gives you more to work with as Vine's 6-second limit can be challenging.

Vine is not dead and buried yet, however. A tweet from them back in August thanked their 40 million users for inspiring them and I regularly come across hilarious Vines online which can sometimes be shared hundreds of thousands of times.

I'll stick to Instagram for the time being. It surpassed the 150 million user milestone in September this year and announced Instagram Direct earlier this month. Instagram Direct is not unlike Twitter's direct message and Facebook's private message feature, and it allows you to share photos and videos with a smaller group of people, rather than to your complete list of followers.

It's a nifty feature for baby pics, private jokes or a certain selfie you perhaps wouldn't want everyone to see.  

2014 is set to be a big year for Instagram, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Oreo wins the Superbowl  

We all know that big brands spend big bucks for commercial ad breaks at the Superbowl, but Oreo won the night with their reactive approach to the blackout during the game.

During the powercut, they were swift to design and sign off artwork which was then tweeted from their official account minutes later. The simple tweet read "Power out? No problem" linked to an image of an Oreo cookie in the dark with the message "You can still dunk in the dark". Genius.

In little under an hour, the tweet was shared on Twitter over 10,000 times, which shows the power of quick, smart, reactive thinking.

Ironically, Oreo was among the umpteen advertisers spending millions on TV commercials that night, but it's fair to say that Twitter proved most effective (and certainly most cost-effective) when it came to word of mouth and positive engagement.

I wouldn't be surprised if, come February 2014 for the next Superbowl, Oreo shift their budget from traditional advertising to an integrated social media campaign. Watch this space. 

#RoyalBaby

We all waited with bated breath back in July when Kate when into labour ahead of the media frenzy around the arrival of the royal baby, now better known as Prince George.

I blogged in the summer around the social media case study that was #RoyalBaby as this hashtag was trending for most of the week as breaking news was announced on Twitter in real-time.

I found it endearing that they retained this royal occasion, whilst also fully embracing modern communication channels to keep the public informed, in their own words.

The tweet from Clarence House announcing the arrival was re-tweeted more than 9000 times in the first 20 minutes.

Twitter also confirmed on their blog that, following the announcement of the baby's birth, there were more than 25,300 Tweets per minute surrounding the royal baby.

Various social networks were adopted by Clarence House to mark the occasion. They used Twitter to share real-time text updates, Instagram to share the official announcement on the easel, they shared a selection of snaps and stories on story-telling network, Storify and they partnered with Google+ to allow users to sign an online congratulations card which was then printed and presented to Kensington Palace.

It's fair to say that I was impressed with the Royals' savviness on social media. Here's hoping they keep up the good work in 2014 for any pending engagements. Harry, I'm looking at you.

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