2012: The Year Online


2012: the year when for the first time ever, more than 50 percent of people 65 and older are online and of those, one in three uses Facebook. To celebrate, we scoured the web’s 2102 best-of and top 10 lists, and did some of our own noodling, to come up with this cybermedley Year in Review. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!


Top Internet Memes

Via Social Times. When it came to memes – images or ideas that are virally transmitted and constantly reinvented – the big news in 2012 was their mainstreaming during election season, from the “binders full of women” meme launched minutes after Mitt Romney’s debate gaffe to the “texts from Hilary” meme inspired by a press photo of the Secretary of State


and a cross-pollination of the two


Cats continued their dominance of the meme world in 2012 with a new cat meme, Grumpy Cat, which took off after an Arizona resident posted a picture on social site Reddit of his sister’s cat.


But the biggest meme this year was sparked by a wildly infectious  South Korean dance video called “Gangnam Style.”  Gangnam Style mashups were everywhere – we saw everything from “Mitt Romney Style”  to a parrot singing “Gangnam style” – and when a guy called Mike Song posted to YouTube a video of him teaching his 60-year-old grandmother the dance, “Gangnam Style Mom” went viral.


Top Two Retweets on Twitter

Via Twitter. President Obama’s tweet on the night of November 6 was retweeted 810,000 times – a Twitter record.


Teen heartthrob, singer Justin Bieber scored the second most-retweeted tweet of 2012 with his micro-message ”RIP Avalanna. I love you.” The little girl with brain cancer was a big Bieber fan, and he had grown close to her. When she passed away, the star’s tweet was retweeted 220,000 times.



Most Viral Videos

Via Buzzfeed. Gangnam Style, the top Internet meme, was the most viral video with more than a billion hits on YouTube. Coming in right behind were the usual assortment of  surprise hits – including cute baby videos shot by parents, and posted online

and news stories that went viral. But we’re naming the 30-minute “Kony 2012” the year’s most remarkable viral video. Filmmaker Jason Russell made it specifically to draw attention to the plight of children victimized by Uganda’s LRA leader Joseph Kony; he posted it to YouTube and Vimeo with a deliberate push for viewers to share it on social media. The video has been viewed more than 95 million times as of 28 December 2012.




Most Surprising Online Trend

Advanced-styleTwenty-something-year-old Ari Seth Cohen started it a few years ago with his blog Advanced Style, which features photographs he takes of decked-out older women. The blog developed into videos, a book project and a soon-to-be movie – and the idea of “advanced style” has taken off. We did a search on the super-popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest and found dozens of boards labeled Advanced Style (click here to see them) – burgeoning collections of images of women and men “past their prime” who refuse to be invisible. And then, late in 2012, the London-based scenester art-and-fashion mag Dazed & Confused ran a cover story featuring 91-year-old style icon Iris Apfel (click here to read the story).

The result of all this: a growing recognition among the younger women (and a few men) who are following Advanced Style on Facebook and making the boards on Pinterest that aging does not have to mean declining. To which we say, yay!


Best app

Via Netted by the Webbies. How many times do you start reading something online but don’t finish it? Maybe it’s a long article and you’re sick of scrolling. Maybe you’re distracted by something and forget to go back to it. Maybe you only have an Internet connection for a short time.  Pocket is a “read later” app that you can use on your laptop or desktop computer as well as on your tablet or smartphone. When you save an article to read later in Pocket, you can access it from anywhere. Best of all, you can finish reading offline, so if you have a wi-fi only tablet and want to finish this article later, it’ll be there for you along with your growing library of online reading. Get it here.


Most Powerful Images

Via Buzzfeed.  Scrolling through Buzzfeed’s 45 most powerful images of 2012 is like getting a fast recap of the year’s big news stories through pictures – from the grieving women of African mine workers to the man who set himself on fire for a free Tibet; from natural disasters to shootings, protests and space explorations; human tragedies punctuated by joyous moments – or both, as in the case of this monsoon wedding in Manila. Our vote for most goosebump-inducing: A woman grieving for her brother and cousin who were shot dead in Brooklyn.




Worst Passwords of 2012

Via Splashdata. Apparently Internet users didn’t learn much since 2011. According to Splashdata, a provider of password security tools, the  worst passwords were still:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. abc123
  5. qwerty
  6. monkey

New to the top 25 list were “welcome,” “ninja” and “jesus.”



Top Gadget Innovation

senior-planet-google-glassVia Mashable. Google Glass is a device in development at Google that looks like glasses but is actually an interactive, wearable computing device. It weighs less than sunglasses and lets you jump from a plane, climb a mountain or do pretty much anything while you’re online; according to Cnet, “on the side is a touch pad for control, on top is a button for shooting photos and videos with the built-in camera, and there’s a small information display positioned above the eye out of the line of sight.”



Top 10 Facts About Seniors Online

We looked to the Pew Research Center’s June 2012 report and its fall update for the latest factoids.

  1. For the first time ever, more than 50 percent of people age 65 and over are online – to be exact, 53 percent at last count in April 2012.
  2. One third of Internet users 65 and older use social networking sites like Facebook, and 18 percent do so daily or almost daily.
  3. Seniors are flocking to Facebook, but only 3 percent are on the visual bookmarking site Pinterest.
  4. Almost 70 percent of seniors have a cellphone, but only 11 percent own a smartphone.
  5. One in four Americans now owns a tablet, and while the percentage is far lower for seniors, among those of us who do own or use a tablet, nearly half are now using our devices for health information or tools.

What’s on your Online Top 10 list for 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments box below!


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