The End of 2012, the End of the World

end of all things


“I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.” – Frodo Baggins

Cut us some slack–The Hobbit just came out last week. It’s an emotional time for nerds everywhere. And isn’t it the end of all things? It’s the end of the work week, almost the end of the year, according to those who have misinterpreted the Mayan calendar, it’s certainly the end of the world. So just in case we don’t make it to next week, let’s take a look back at some notable Web goings-on from 2012.

1. Facebook went public.

It might have been the most-anticipated IPO in the past few years (at least, that’s what every form of media said every day leading up to it). Unfortunately, the hype was impossible to live up to. Facebook has been scrambling to make their ad platform more profitable with Facebook Exchange and better mobile ads ever since and it’s been paying off slowly.  Mark Zuckerberg announced his and wife Priscilla’s second major charitable contribution to date — a gift of 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The gift was announced, not surprisingly, by a post on Zuckerberg’s timeline Tuesday evening.

2. Timeline.

It seems way longer than a few months, but Facebook Timeline only rolled out in the early spring of 2012. Just like any other Facebook change, a good deal of users had breakdowns about the new features and threatened to leave the ever-changing Facebook landscape for Google+. Good luck out there, guys. Meanwhile, Timeline is probably one of the cooler layout changes Facebook has ever made.

3.  Space Jump.

Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet into our atmosphere. Eight million people tuned in to watch live. THIS IS THE FUTURE, PEOPLE.

4. Mobile continued to gradually conquer the world.

Which you could debate was prophesized in this video. Independent mobile advertising network, InMobi, reported this year that Americans now just barely spend more time consuming media on mobile devices than on the TV. That’s 2.4 hours a day versus 2.35 for TV. The craziest part is that 70% of the time, mobile users consume that media while also watching TV. It’s hardly a big leap to predict that this will only become more prevalent in 2013. We can barely disconnect from any form of media completely as it is, soon we’ll hardly be able to just consume one at a time!

5. Gangnam Style became a thing.

“Call Me Maybe” might arguably have been more viral, but we just couldn’t stand to see it or listen to it even one more time. Never again.

6. Google unleashed a herd of algorithm updates

The Panda and Penguin updates were not as cute and fuzzy as their names might suggest, but they meant well. Google wanted to rid its search results of spam and give some good, honest pages their rightful rankings. Approximately 3.1% of all queries were affected by the Penguin update in its first iteration, which was originally called the “Over-Optimization Update” (a name that caused a fair share of panic and speculation on its own). Penguin didn’t hit as many sites as hard as Panda did, which affected around 12% of search queries, because honestly most of what Penguin penalizes are just terrible practices. Penguin focused on links where Panda had focused on content , and the two together made a pretty solid team.

7. Pinterest exploded.

Of course, the explosion was more of a gradual, sparkling ombre display of hairstyles, wedding gowns, and holiday crafts than anything else. Pinterest climbed the charts and became the fourth largest traffic driver worldwide in 2012, meaning it beat out Yahoo, Bing, StumbleUpon, and Twitter for the spot. Google and Facebook are still holding strong at the top, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Who knows, though. Maybe 2013 will have a few surprises in store?