Twitter – Facebook – Pinterest: A Year in Review

December 20, 2012 Aaliyah Madadi

This past year has been a busy one for social media as user rates continue to increase and popular networks play a significant role in business, politics, and society as a whole. Consequently, social networks have experienced a variety of major updates and tweaks throughout 2012 – some significant and some forgotten. Here’s a retrospective timeline of the biggest changes to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest over the past year.


February: Mobile Experience
Twitter updated their previously-lacking mobile apps and offered increased functionality and new designs across smartphones and tablets. The update enabled users to navigate through their twitter stream with a swipe shortcut to reply, retweet, favourite, and share tweets without leaving their stream. Also included was a “Read Later” option so users could return to links they didn’t have time to read.

May: Email Digest
Twitter implemented daily and weekly emails where they sent users new follower notifications and recaps of popular stories within their community.

June: Tailored Trends and Follow Suggestions
Another new feature was email suggestions for “People You May Know” or “People to Follow”. Twitter also capitalized on the popularity of their trending section by allowing users to customize trends based on their location and the people they follow.

July: Improved Search
Twitter launched a significant revamp of their search capabilities in July with improvements to search query suggestions, spelling corrections, and more relevant search results. Also included was search auto-complete functionality as well as segmenting search results for keywords by ‘people you follow’. Ultimately, Twitter’s improved search capabilities enhanced content discovery across the social network.

September: Changes to Profile Pages
Twitter capitalized on the importance of pictures and visuals to tell a story by improving the profile page for all users. Included in this update was the ability to upload a header photo to your profile page as well as a side-panel photo stream that allows users to easily navigate through pictures posted on Twitter.


February: Timeline
Perhaps the most notable Facebook update this year was the transition into Timeline profile pages. While many users voiced privacy concerns regarding the ability to access old posts and pictures, the switch to Timeline made profile pages more visually appealing and reinforced the trend this year towards visual content.

April: Instagram acquisition
Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a whopping $1 billion. As with most things Facebook, a lot of debate arose regarding Instagram’s valuation and how the acquisition would affect the trendy/hipster Instagram user base.

May: IPO
Facebook’s highly speculated IPO happened in May which led to an immediate decline in stock prices along with dozens of lawsuits. Facebook’s highest pre-IPO valuation was approximately $102 billion.

May: Mobile changes
The painstakingly-slow Facebook mobile app got updated with a new interface and semi-faster delivery. Photos appear larger on the newsfeed and users can browse through entire albums by swiping through pictures without leaving their newsfeed. Despite these changes, many users still express that Facebook’s mobile experience is below expectations.

November: Photo Auto-Sync
A recent new feature is the ability for mobile photos to automatically sync to a private Facebook album on your profile. This makes it even easier to upload and share photos…but it comes with some resistance and plenty of concerns.


April: Cover Pins
Due to popular demand, Pinterest launched the ability for users to choose their own cover pin for their boards. This feature made boards more customizable for users.

November: Secret Boards
Another feature that Pinterest released after many requests from users was secret boards. Each user was given 3 secret boards which could be used to pin sources that you don’t want followers to see. This is great for occasions such as planning surprise parties and gift planning.

November: Pinterest Business Accounts
It’s no doubt that many businesses have started using Pinterest to engage their audience. Pinterest recently launched the capability to join the social network as a business which enables companies to tell a visual story and build out their community.

What do you think about this year’s social media updates? What are the biggest changes you want to see in the future? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author

After graduating from the HBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Aaliyah launched her career as Marketing Coordinator at Uberflip! Prior to her HBA, Aaliyah also completed a Bachelor in English at Western University.

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