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LEWIS

By

Matthew Bleaney

Published on

January 5, 2024

Tags

last year in social, Social Media, social platforms, This Week in Social

2023 - The year that brought us Barbenheimer, Twitter’s rebrand into X, advancements in AI and much more. Last year was a huge stepping stone in social media as Forbes estimated that 4.9 billion people use social media across the world. Platforms have been constantly evolving to provide users and marketers with new ways to present content. Let’s dive into the stories that made our 2023!


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January

To start the year off, Microsoft had its biggest global outage, causing services like Outlook, Teams and Xbox Live to be inaccessible. More than 280 million people within businesses and schools struggled to complete their daily tasks. Many took to Twitter (now X) to complain, with some threatening to log off work.  

Speaking of Twitter, what a year of evolution. It started in January when Elon made his first major update creating two separate feeds, ‘For You’ and ‘Following’. Little did we know what was to come later in the year… 

February

February was scattered with awards ceremonies. We witnessed Ariana DeBose’s viral BAFTA performance, which trended across all social platforms. Viola Davis (my Women King) finally achieved EGOT status at Grammy’s. Beyonce claimed her 32nd Grammy award, making her the biggest winner of the awards. And Sam Smith’s internet-splitting inflatable latex outfit gleamed on the BRIT’s red carpet.  

We can’t forget Rhianna’s incredible Superbowl with her cheeky 5-second promotion of Fenty Beauty lip gloss. It caused 321 million impressions online and boosted the site’s traffic. Who knew ‘Marketing Genius’ was on her CV. 

March

In March, we had the panic of our lives. The US was planning to ban TikTok! The US government was considering a new act to protect citizens from data privacy leaks. However, fast forward to today, and TikTok is still here, and the act has since been dismissed. Phew! That was a close one. 

It wasn’t just about the platforms. Brands got creative too. British Cereal Brand, Surreal, got major celebrities involved in an ad campaign, including Dwayne Johnson, Michael Jordan and Serena Williams. United Airlines recruited a new Chief Trash Officer, Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. And the WWF got major brands like Duolingo, Gymshark and SeaLife to ditch nature from their logos to support its #WorldWithoutNature campaign. Check out all that creativity!  

If that wasn’t enough, we also heard whisperings of a new social platform from Meta… 

April

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film was a pinnacle moment for 2023. It started in April when the “This Barbie is…” meme started trending. Brands from all industries got involved, including us on Instagram.  

Haters were a huge problem for the oat milk brand Oatly. In a bold move, their team created a new website especially for themFckOatly.com was made with haters in mind. A one-stop shop for all the stories on boycotts, criticisms and bad press that Oatly had received, making it convenient for the haters to read and reference. Oatly also created extreme variations of the site for hardcore haters, ranging from fckfckoatly.com to fckfckfckfckfckoatly.com. Social media loved this creative approach. 

There’s one thing we definitely won’t forget. The evolution from Twitter to X. As part of Elon Musk’s aim to get the ‘everything app’, he rebranded the entire app. At the start of 2024, it’s said that the value of X has dropped 71% since the purchase in November 2023. I wonder want changes will come this year.  

May

Less than a month later, we got the first of many controversial changes to X. Elon changed the coveted ‘Blue Tick’ verification symbol on the platform. Now anyone can get a tick by paying for X Premium, which has led to many fake accounts of celebrities. Users weren’t happy with this change.  

Meta had an expensive fine to deal with in May. The company received a fine of $1.2 billion for illicit data transfers between the UK and the US. Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), Meta had to restructure and turn to domestic data storage systems to continue operating in the region.  

June

June felt like a Black Mirror episode. The sixth season of the show finally aired with one episode creepy out fans the most. ‘Joan is Awful’ became people’s worst nightmares. In the epside, ‘Streamberry’ creates an AI-generated series starring Salma Hayek’s licensed image takes. With many people already concerned about AI privacy, this did not settle any stomachs. 

Apple leapt into the future, showcasing the Vision Pro for the first time at its summer event. It has been marketed as an all-in-one phone, game console, desktop, and camera operating in 3D. Maybe in 2024, we’ll see everyone walking the streets with these fancy looking ski goggles

Rihanna wasn’t finished with her marketing journey this year. Her beauty brand, Fenty Beauty, launched a Roblox competition, allowing players to create their own Gloss bomb lip gloss. The best gloss was selected, made and sent to its creator with of course a bunch more products. 

July

Threads, Meta’s platform to rival X launched in July. It had over 10 million sign-ups within its first 7 hours. Now, it’s launched in the EU and still has over 160 million users. However, that was no enough to bring much activity to the platform. Will we see more of it this year?  

Finally, fans of the long-awaited ‘Barbenheimer’ (Barbie and Oppenheimer) hit cinema screens. Much of London turned pink to embrace the premiere of Barbie. It continued throughout the release of the films, with many people on social media showcasing outfit ideas, plans of which movie to see first, and bets of which film would make the biggest splash at the box office. 

August

The Space Race 2.0 started off in August with India successfully landing on the Southern pole of the Moon. The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft made a successful soft landing, becoming the latest addition to the ranks of countries that have touched down on the Moon. 

Netflix got an upgrade as it started streaming video games on the platform. Users enjoyed games like Oxenfree and Molehew’s Mining Adventure during the launch. Now there are more than 77 games to try out. Disney+ are you taking notes?  

September

Google had its big birthday in September. 27th September 2023 marked the platform’s 25th birthday. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, praised the progress the company had made and discussed the future it has integrating AI.  

Apple held its autumn event, Wonderlust, to unveil its latest products, including the iPhone 15. It included an inspiring video from Mother Earth, played by Octavia Spencer, discussing the future of the planet. But little did their team know that the iPhone 15’s launch was going to be hot. Many excited new purchasers of the phone experienced overheating issues with one of the batches that went on sale. Apple has since rectified the problem but didn’t avoid the explosion of complaints online.  

October

In October, we waved ‘hello’ to the Las Vegas Sphere. Popular band ‘U2’ headlined the opening of the $2.3 billion venue. But the sphere is also a marketer’s dream as it’s now one of the world’s biggest advertising spaces.  

Disney celebrated its 100th anniversary with a spectacular short film, ‘Once Upon a Studio’. It honoured the multitude of stories and characters it has created and the evolution of their animation. To celebrate even more, this year Disney will hold a Disney’s centenary exhibition in London, UK. It will hold up to 250 rare artefacts, memorabilia and props. 

November

November saw the return of The Beatles after 28 years. The power of AI resurrected the band’s voices from existing material to create the song ‘Now and Then’. What AI generated creations will 2024 bring?  

One of the last updates from X in 2023 was the introduction of audio and video calls. Premium members have a new way to contact their besties from an in-built function in the DMs. The ‘Everything App’ is incoming…  

December  

Finally, December. Brands got involved with their annual recaps. Spotify of course launched its highly anticipated Wrapped, introducing the new ‘Sound Town’ analytic. Google showcased its ‘25 Years in Search’ with an interactive game. Players had to find all the most search queries to win. And Taylor Swift was named ‘Person of the Year’ after her whirlwind Eras Tour.  

As an early Christmas gift, fans of Grand Theft Auto finally got to see a trailer of the sixth game in the series. It broke YouTube records for the most views in 24 hours, totalling over 90 million views. However, we will have to wait until 2025 to play it.  

Remember 2022’s App of the Year, BeReal? It’s still thriving away, with 25 million active users last year. More updates came to the platform with Behind The Scene videos, tagging and RealGroups. The app still has no advertising spaces, but 2024 may change that.  

What’s next for 2024?

What a year 2023 has been. We’ve had fabulous new campaigns, creative platform updates and exciting new trends. 2024 is a mysterious door of exciting possibilities. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next. Be sure to follow us on LinkedInXFacebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the latest news. Happy 2024 everyone! 

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