Twitter floats and Facebook stalls: Social media in 2013

In 2013 social media generally maintained its status quo, but that wasn't exactly intentional. Both the dominant forces Facebook and Twitter made big plays to extend their influence, with Facebook falling especially hard after an attempt to break into the mobile space.

Google, meanwhile, gradually carved a niche for itself with Google+, although questions as to how big that niche actually is remain unanswered.

Twitter: big money, big twouble

The biggest story of the year was without a doubt Twitter's IPO. The micro-blogging firm launched onto the New York Stock Exchange with a top-end valuation of $31bn, putting to bed concerns caused by – and learning lessons from – Facebook's botched IPO 18 months earlier.
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In putting its shares up for sale, Twitter gave us an insight into how it operates. Despite the company haemorrhaging cash – to the tune of $64.4m in the first half of the year – analysts and investors saw past the red ink, seeing huge potential in the firm's 232 million active users. With the company making the most of its mobile applications, the smart money is on Twitter continuing to invest in mobile advertising, making it easier for tight-belted small businesses to advertise locally.

In the year the word ‘tweet' entered the dictionary, Twitter's 2013 was also defined by a major user outcry over threatening messages directed towards female users. Particularly negative publicity in the UK forced the company's hand, and it eventually added a few more ways for users to report abusive behaviour. These are exactly the kind of bad news stories Twitter has to avoid as it looks to send its stock skyward.

Facebook: problems at Home

Facebook knew it had to make a splash in the mobile space in 2013; investors were unhappy that it was failing to make money from its mobile applications. So, in one of the bigger overreactions of the year, Facebook partnered up with HTC to produce the fabled Facebook Phone – the HTC First. Featuring an impractically re-skinned version of the Android operating system, coupled with a colourful mid-range handset, the phone entirely failed to catch on and was quietly dropped just months after its debut.
htc first facebook phone
In the end, it didn't matter. Facebook overhauled its mobile apps with a fresh lick of paint and a few new features, and the graphs started to point in the right direction. By the time the firm reached its third quarter financial results, nearly half of its $1.8bn advertising revenue was coming from mobile devices, a clear sign of the times.

Its main worries will now be the gradual tapering off of its user growth. As it looks to get the rest of the world online through its Internet.org campaign, launched this year, the company will be focusing on previously untapped markets as areas for long-term growth.
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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

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