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A Look Back: The Evolution of Social Media in 2013

Social media. It seems like yesterday it was just a fad, something naysayers insisted would never catch on. Now, look at it — all grown up, attracting more users than ever and worth billions of dollars. In 2013, social media evolved faster and further, turning itself into a viable platform that influences what we do and how we share. 

Organic Down, Paid Up

Social advertising once seemed so surreal — to buy a following had been considered in poor taste from the beginning.  But in 2013, social advertising began to pay off.

First, social media, while a free platform, needs to make money, especially considering that more and more of these companies are going public. Secondly, brands that were brave enough to jump on the social media bandwagon a few years ago have had the luxury of building an audience organically. It took time and a lot of experimenting. For brands just joining social media, growing an audience from scratch is much more challenging. 


A Socialbakers report showed average post organic reach during August 10 through November 2 based on 41,051 posts made by 274 sample pages during this period.

Sites like Facebook have decided it's time to make brands pay to get the attention of their fans, while also revising the algorithm so it's harder to get into users' feeds for free. Twitter's advertising is also starting to pick up (if email volume is any indication), offering a variety of new filters and best practices. Even Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are experimenting with paid advertising. They start first with sponsored posts, and then it's only a matter of time before everything from photos to pins to blog posts can be promoted with the click of a button. 

Will paid advertising have a home in social media? As long as one's social media presence continues to influence the masses, we can only imagine. 

Photo Sharing is Where It's App

Thanks to Pinterest, SnapChat and Instagram, if you're not sharing photos of your food, taking selfles or photos of your pets, you're missing out. 2013 was the year the word 'selfie' — the act of taking a photo of yourself with your phone — was added to the Oxford English Dictionary and declared 'word of the year." Each day, 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook, while more than 45 million photos are taken using Instagram every day. This year when a new Pope was selected, St. Peter's Square looked dramatically different than when the last Pope was chosen in 2005. 


Thanks to the photo sharing mobile app, the world is more accessible than ever before. Which means it everything is much more public than ever before. As a result, apps like SnapChat are extremely popular. It's also why Instagram and Twitter have begun to experiment with private photo sharing. The idea that not every photo needs to be public is one that is new to social media. If it proves successful, it could revolutionize social media photo sharing. 


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