Monthly Archives: June 2017

Top 10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media History Over the Last 20 Years

Do you remember your first social media profile? Or, how about your first social media post?

My first profile was on Myspace, my first friend was Tom from Myspace, and my first post was something like, Myspace is awesome!

The rest is history.

Social media has changed and evolved so much since the early days, it’s almost hard to believe how far we’ve come.How people use social media has changed as well. Gen Zs (now beginning to enter the workforce) only know a world with social media, compared to their counterparts Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers who can still fondly remember back to the days of snail mail and dial-up modems!

In light of#SMDay (6/30/2017), we’re teaming up with Bitlyto share stories and celebrate the positive impact that social media has had on individuals, businesses, and the globe over the last 20 glorious years all using the hashtag #impactofsocial. Check out the details at the bottom of this post about how you can join in on the fun!

Here’s a look at 10 powerfulmoments that shaped the social media history.

Let’s dive in!

10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media Over the Last 20 Years

Top 10 powerfulmoments that shaped social media history

There have been so many wonderful moments over the last 20 years on social media that it was quite a challenge to boil them down to just 10! But since we’re celebrating thepositive impact of social mediaon people’s lives and on the world for this campaign, these are all particularly meaningful and important moments in the social media history.

Feel free to jump to a certain moment(s) in the social media history!

Let’s count down to the top moment in the social media history!

10. The Birth of Facebook

Facebook, the social media network that has an incredible two billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the earth’s population), is the only network that I’ll mention in this post for moments-sake. Given its sheer size, the impact it has made on families, friends, businesses, and world events, I felt as though I might be remiss without a mention of Facebook somewhere!

It’s amazing to imagine what the world might be like if Facebook had never captured the hearts and minds of so many people the way it did. One of my favorite Facebook moments, in particular, is during an early 2004 interview on CNBC with Mark Zuckerberg:

The anchor asks: Now there’s a new form of cyber match-making, college networking websites. Is this perhaps thenext big thing? The Facebook. Mark, if someone was to put the question to you about the magnitude of what you’ve launched; how big do you think your product or service is?

We all know the rest!

A short six years after this interview (2010), Zuckerberg would go on to become Time’s Person of the Year along with many other accolades along the way. Facebook has changed the way we interact and communicate on all levels and only time will tell if another network will come along and take its place in social media history.

9. Miracle on the Hudson

It was January 15, 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York and struck a flock of birds on the way up. Moments later, both engines were lost and Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger, along with his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, were asked to pull off the miraculous landing.

When the plane finally landed safely in the frigid Hudson River waters, all 155 passengers on board were safe. The Miracle on the Hudson has been called the most successful ditching in aviation history.

But something else happened that day Jeff Krums tweeted:


Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBCin 2013 how that changed Twitter and the way people get news.

It changed everything. Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news-and it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing.

One small tweet began the Twitter revolution. Hundreds of millions of people now turn to Twitter as a source of news, a place to build a following, a place to share your stories and connect with others.

Twitter is also the platform that our co-founder, Joel Gascoigne, successfullybuilt Buffer on back in 2010! This powerful moment in social media history has a special place in our hearts.

8. Going Viral

How many of you have sat around with friends or family and binge-watched several classicYouTubevideos in a row? I know I have!

What is now one of the largest social media networkson the planet (more than 1.5 billion peoplelog in every month), started with a few viral hits and began a trend that today we might call, going viral. This launchedYouTube into a massive entertainment hub complete with TV streaming, movies, music videos, tutorials, celebrities, vloggers, and of course, viral videos.

Let’s take a look at three early videos that helped to shape the viral side of social media history:

Charlie Bit My Finger (Published: 5/22/2007 851,140,074 views)

Chocolate Rain (Published: 4/22/2007 113,787,749 views)

Numa Numa (Published: 12/11/2006 26,800,130 views)

Honorable Mention: Lazy Sunday

In December of 2005, the first viral video appeared online under the name Lazy Sunday. It was the second-ever SNL Digital Short aired and featured cast members, Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. Following its appearance on SNL, the video appeared on YouTube and was viewed more than five million times until February 2006 when NBC Universal asked the site to remove it.

7.Ellen’s Selfie (and #NuggsForCarter)

Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that took the social media world by storm is the epitome of everything that is awesome about social media.


First, it is the fact that this photo is in selfie form which has come to be a staple of how photos are taken and shared across social media platforms. Two, it shows just how light-hearted, yet powerful social media can be. A smiling group of beloved actors, actresses, and performers has the ability to touch the lives of the more than 3,400,000 people who retweeted it and the millions more that saw it. For more than three years, Ellen’s selfie held the title of themost retweeted tweet of all time.

That was until Nevada teenager Carter Wilkerson’s plea for free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s went viral.


The world watched as #NuggsForCarter swept Twitter like wildfire eventually passing Ellen’s selfie as the most retweeted tweet of all time. And although the #NuggsForCarter tweet never quite reached 18 million, Wendy’s still awarded Carter free nuggets for a year anyways. A win-win!

In my experience, we as social media managers tend to take social media very seriously. But if we can learn anything from Ellen’s selfie and #NuggsForCarter, it’s that social media is meant to be a fun and sprightly place for people to share stories, connect, and be themselves.

If you’d like to hear more about the Nuggs Guy and how entrepreneurs and small businesses use social media, check out episode #47 of The Science of Social Media where we chat with Paul Jarvis.

6.NASA’s #YearInSpace

Named one of the most influential social media campaigns of 2016 (and maybe of all time), NASA’s #AYearInSpace demonstrates the wildly powerful ability of social media to document the human condition.


What made the mission so unique is that NASAAstronaut Scott Kellyhas an identical twin brother he was to be compared with (physically) upon his return in hopes to uncover what happens to the human body after long exposures in space.

Astronaut Kelly tweeted continuously using the hashtag #YearInSpace, which was followed closely by millions of intrigued spectators. While tumbling around in zero gravity aboard the ISS, he even hosted an AMA session on Reddit!

This was a powerful moment in the social media history because we were able to experience space first-hand from the comfort of our own homes. People from all over the world chimed in using #YearInSpace to express their support, marvel in the wonder of the cosmos, and share an interconnectedness of human activity.

5.ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a wonderful testament to the power of social media to make a charitable impact on an important cause. Since 2014, largely due to social media, the ALS Association has raised more than $115 millionfor research towards Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It drew the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, including celebrities like President Obama, LeBron James, Lady Gaga, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates. Within the first 15 days of the campaign taking off, the ALS Association had received $15 million in donations from 307,600 new, first-time donors.

What followed was an interesting study into viral content and how organizations might be able to repeat this virality in the future. And while no definite conclusion was made from Facebook’s study and visualization, many attribute the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge success to former Boston College baseball player, Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 (helping to explain the concentration).

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Graph

The Ice Bucket Challenge can help to act as a guide or blueprint for achieving viral success via social media. As TechCrunch author, Sarah Perez writes, Simply ask the selfie generation to once again turn their cameras on themselves, but infuse that act with a higher purpose and you have a recipe for success.


Over the past several years, social media has become an important communication tool for political groups and social movements to organize and take action. One of those social movements, #BlackLivesMatter, has become one of the largest in the social media history. Used more than 12 million times, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is the third most-used Twitter hashtag around a social cause.

Analysis of #BlackLivesMatter Hashtag

#BlackLivesMatter is an incredibly powerful example of how a social media hashtag can ignite action in the real world and be tied directly to a major movement. The implications for something like this are huge considering that we are all only becoming more digitally connected by the day.

Aquote from Bijan Stephen in WIREDhelps to sum it up perfectly:

In the 1960s, if you were a civil rights worker and you needed to get some urgent news out to the rest of the world, you would likely head straight for a telephone. If you’re a civil rights activist in 2015 and you need to get some news out, your first move is to choose a social media platform.

3. Arab Spring

I’ll never forget the digital marketing course I took in college that examined social media’s impact on the Arab Spring. It was then, back in 2011 as a student, that I realized the true power and potential implications of social media. Up until that point, I thought social media was only for sharing pictures with friends and family!

There has since been a strong debate over the role and influence that social media played in the Arab Spring. Researchers at the University of Washingtonexamined more than three million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content, and thousands of blog posts and found that social media played a central role in shaping political debates in the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring Map Overview

Our evidence suggests that social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising, said Philip Howard, project lead and professor at the University of Washington. People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom.

2. Community Support during World Tragedies

Social media can mean the difference between a few minutes or even a few seconds, and in unforeseen often-desperate situations, a few seconds can mean the world.

Moments after the tragic events in Brussels, friends and family members turned to Facebook and Twitter for information regarding anyone they might have known to be involved.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, one-quarter of Americans looked to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites for information, according to The Pew Research Center. Boston community membersoffered complete strangers a warm bed, food, and a shower when roads and hotels were closed (via a simpleGoogle Doc).

Boston Marathon Google Doc

Social media also provides essential communication channelsafterthese tragic events. Thinking back to Paris in 2015, social media helped to give many people a feeling of comfort, of solidarity, and of solace knowing that they would not have to face this alone. It acted as a support system even though we were all thousands of miles apart.

1. Natural Disaster Relief

One of the biggest strengths of social media is the speed at which it can disseminate important information to a large number of people in a very short amount of time. For example, after a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, non-profits and relief groups used social media to mobilize rescue efforts and support the community in various ways.

According to a CNN report, social media Twitter specifically became a pivotal tool in the fundraising efforts that raised millions of dollars in aid for the country. By the end of the week, the use of social media helped to raise more than $8 million in relief.

Haiti Earthquake 2010

Photo: Yale Economic Review

Haiti is just one of many cases where social media played an integral role in disaster relief. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2011), Hurricane Irene (2011), Superstorm Sandy (2012), and the earthquake in Nepal (2015) are examples of the power of instant communication. During Sandy, 10,000 Instagram photos (#sandy) were uploaded per second, many complete with geo-tagged locations!

Social media provides real-time, first-person information so that people and organizations can make informed decisions about where to focus their efforts. A critical piece in ensuring that relief is provided where and when it is needed most.

Over to you

It’s quite hard to fathom that social media is only 20 years youngand that the majority of growth and innovation has happened over the last few years.It’s even harder to believe that we’ve likely only just begun! As theworld population continues to increase, communities become more connected, and theinternet becomes available for more and more cities around the world, we will undoubtedly witness a deeper integration of social media into our everyday lives.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of amazing moments throughout social media history. And so it’s up to all of us to celebrate its positive impact on our lives whenever we can. Let’s encourage each other to not take this incredible tool for granted!

Here’s to 20 more years of powerful, wonderful, and world-changing social media history (and beyond!)

Feeling inspired? We’d love for you to share your story!

How has social media positively impacted you? On June 30th (#SMDay) and throughout the weekend, share your social media story with us using the hashtag #impactofsocial! We’ll be retweeting some of our favorites and picking a few winners to receive some special Buffer swag. We’re also hosting five exclusiveFacebook Live chats throughout the day, check out the awesome schedule we have planned below!

Facebook Live #impactofsocial schedule (Tune in Here!)

The whole universe fits in one image with a special trick of math

The universe is enormous – so vast that it’s almost impossible to picture what it might look like in one image.

But musician Pablo Carlos Budassi managed to do it by combining logarithmic maps of the universe from Princeton and images from NASA.

He created the image below that shows the observable universe in one disc:

observable universe logarithmic illustration paul carlos budassiPablo Carlos Budassi/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Our sun and solar system are at the very center of the image, followed by the outer ring of our Milky Way galaxy, the Perseus arm of the Milky Way, a ring of other nearby galaxies like Andromeda, the rest of the cosmic web, cosmic microwave background radiation leftover from the big bang, and finally a ring of plasma also generated by the big bang.

Logarithms help us make sense of huge numbers, and in this case, huge distances. For example, when we zoom out from 1 centimeter to 1 decimeter, then 1 decimeter to 1 meter, we’ve changed scales by two orders of magnitude, or 102.

Rather than showing all parts of the universe on a linear scale, Budassi made each chunk of the circle represent a field of view several orders of magnitude larger than the one before it. That’s why the entire observable universe is able to fit inside a circle.

Budassi got the idea after making hexaflexagons for his son’s birthday one year. (If you haven’t seen a hexaflexagon in action, get ready to have your mind blown.)

“Then when I was drawing hexaflexagons for my sons birthday souvenirs I started drawing central views of the cosmos and the solar system,” Budassi previously told Tech Insider in an email. “That day the idea of a logarithmic view came and in the next days I was able to [assemble] it with [P]hotoshop using images from NASA and some textures created by my own.”

Budassi first uploaded the image to Wikipedia on June 21, 2013. Since then he’s improved the image and created a few new log scales.

One newer and equally impressive illustration shows the universe’s scale in a vertical image, below. It logarithmically zooms out from infinitesimal “quantum foam” of the fabric of space (a bewildering 10-32 meters in scale) all the way up to the edges of the observable universe (which is about 1058 larger).

Cosmologists now think the edge of the observable universe is 45.34 billion years in any direction – or, if you prefer a sphere roughly 90.72 billion light-years wide.

However, the real size of the cosmos that is beyond what we can observe may very well be infinite.

observable universe logarithmic illustration vertical paul carlos budassi wikipedia ccbysa3Pablo Carlos Budassi/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

NOW WATCH: These size comparisons show the true scale of enormous things

Peter Thiel gave $100,000 to the scientists trying to resurrect the woolly mammoth

Peter ThielFred Prouser / Reuters

Woolly mammoths could be coming to a park near you sometime before 2027, thanks to fundingfromPayPal founder and tech luminary Peter Thiel.

That’s according toa new book by Ben Mezrich called “Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive one of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures.”

As theMIT Tech Reviewreported, Thiel made a quiet donation of$100,000 to a de-extinction organization called“Revive & Restore” in 2015.

The project to revive woolly mammoths has been going on for several years, but it gained new attention in Februarywhen a team of Harvard scientistssaidthey intend toresurrect thefurrycreature within a decade.

The woolly mammoth went extinct 10,000 years ago, andin reality, the scientistswouldn’t actually be bringing it back. Instead, they aim tocreatea hybrid animal using genetic material from an elephant and a woolly mammoth. To do that, they’d carefully combine a selection ofDNAfromboth creatures usinggene-editing technology Crispr, putthe fetus into an artificial embryo, and accio! Woolly elephant. Elephammoth. Mammophant.

Regardless of its name, the resultinganimal would essentially be an elephant withmammoth features like long, shaggy hair, subcutaneous fat, and blood uniquely adapted for frigidtemperatures.

mammothhuntedWikimedia CommonsMammoths aren’t the only animals that peoplewant to resurrect – now-extinct or threatened species of reindeer, bison, wolves, tigers, and horses are also on the list of potential candidates. The movement to “resurrect” these creatures isn’t limited to scientists, either; it’s become a pet project of people across the globe, including a Russian father and son whose Kickstarter-funded “Pleistocene Park” aims to recreatea “vanished ice-age ecosystem.”

Ethical debatesabout de-extinction projects are intense, with some scientists saying the animals could could help preserve endangered or threatened species and others saying it would destroy existing ecosystems.

Proponents say the project and others could help restore ecosystems and help fight climate change by bringing back plants like grasses and trees that suck up pollution. Other supporters say iconic resurrected animals could serve as a sort of “flagship species” which is used to encourage the public to protect the regions they represent.

But some scientists disagree. Tori Herridge, a paleobiologistat theNatural History Museum of London, is one of the scientists who examinedthe 28,000-year-old remains of a woolly mammothuncovered in Siberia in 2014. She wrote inThe Guardian that “cloning [a woolly mammoth]would be ethically flawed,” since we still don’t fully understand the role that many of these now-extinct animals once played in the wider ecosystem.

The problem sheraises, which has been pointed out by severalother researchers as well, is that wedon’t know how these creatures’ modern incarnationswould affect other animals, plants, and the planet as a whole.

“It is unclear still whether the mammoth steppe disappeared as a result of the loss of the mammoth or whether the mammoth disappeared because its habitat was lost, along with its ice age world,” Herridgewrote. “It’s a big gamble to put your climate-change mitigation hopes on a herd of woolly mammoths.”

NOW WATCH: Scientists have almost discovered how to resurrect a woolly mammoth

Blizzard is remaking ‘StarCraft’ with better graphics – and it comes out this August (ATVI)

People still play the original “StarCraft,” a real-time strategy game that first came out in 1998.

Now, the intergalactic war game is getting a major face-lift, and the updated version will come out on August 14 for $14.99.


“StarCraft: Remastered” will preserve the gameplay of the original 1998 title, but will update its aging graphics and audio, and will ensure better compatibility with modern computers, the company said.

“Gameplay and balance have been precisely preserved,” Blizzard said in apress release.

Preserving the gameplay is important for this remake because the original “StarCraft” is still played as an e-sport, especially in South Korea.

Here’s what you need to know about the “StarCraft” remake:

  • It will go on sale for Windows and Mac for $14.99 on August 14.
  • Pre-orders are available now. If you pre-order, you’ll get a few unique building skins.
  • It will be able to display graphics in 4K and wide-screen.
  • The audio (“Spawn more overlords!”) has been remastered.
  • The online component has been updated, with cloud support for saves, custom maps, and other user-generated content.
  • As with the original, gamers will be able to play matches online.
  • “StarCraft: Remastered” will include all of the original game’s storyline and single-player version, as well as content from an expansion, “Brood War.”
  • You can switch between the remastered graphics and the original with “the click of a button.”
  • The original game and its expansions will be called “StarCraft Anthology,” and Blizzard will make it free to download and play.
  • All three original races – Protoss, Terran, and Zerg -will be playable.

And here’s how the newly updated graphics look:

The best way to look at the graphics improvement is by looking at individual units. Here’s a Protoss Carrier before:


And here’s the same unit after the face-lift:


Zerg Overlord, before:


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Benedict of Oracle Team USA: How Sensors, Data, Drones and Video Shape the Chase for the America’s Cup

Through this series I have the opportunity to speak with a variety of interesting people on a great many topics. But this week’s conversation was the first time I had the chance to do so sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in Bermuda watching Oracle Team USA compete for the America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand. And while the end result wasn’t what we hoped for, with Team USA losing 7-1, It was still a great experience and an opportunity to learn how modern tech is changing the race.

Realtime Data Driven Strategies

Benedict, a member of Oracle Team USA, took a few minutes away from the race to share how the team is using an unbelievable amount of data they are able to collect during the race, along with video and pictures captured, to help change strategies in realtime to move the team forward. And while this is fascinating to see how modern tech is changing the race for The Cup, there are definite business lessons to take away. Plus, I get to bust out my cabana wear for the first time in a while. So I owe a big debt of gratitude to the folks at Oracle for inviting me down to see the races and learn more about technology’s role in the event.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. To see the whole conversation check out the embedded video above and the audio player below.

* * * * *

Benedict of Oracle Team USA: How to Use Sensors, Data, Drones, and Video to Create Realtime Data Driven Strategies for the America's CupBrent Leary: There was a tech talk around how Oracle Team USA is using technology to do what they do. One of the things that stuck me, was the statement that back when the race got started in 1851, it was about technology. People would probably think 1851, what kind of technology was that back there? But now today it’s definitely about technology. Maybe you could talk about kind of the evolution of how technology has played a role in this.

Benedict: Sure, so basically if you look at this Cup, and the previous Cup, the biggest news were the foiling systems. In the past, the boats were sitting in the waters, so you always had a lot of drag, and the drag stopped you accelerating. So in these two Cups we now have foiling catamarans. They lift out of the water, similar to an airplane, and they can go three times the wind speed, which is a different story basically. The hulls do not touch the water anymore. Therefore, they just go faster and faster.

Brent Leary: This morning we talked about, being there at the end of the day, taking this video, taking all the data that’s coming from sensors, and turning that into strategy. Talk a little bit about how you’re able to take all this data you have access to now, and how that plays a role in strategy.

Benedict: We have around 300 to 350 sensors on board, and they take measurements every 5 seconds. This data is being streamed right away to a boat, which follows the race boat all the time. Then they store it back on Oracle databases. We have a huge container over there, with services set up, and it’s air conditioned, since it’s pretty hot here, but it plays a huge role for the engineers because now they always can flip back, and combine the moving pictures, like the video pics, with the data. So you can see how the boat is performing.

Benedict of Oracle Team USA: How to Use Sensors, Data, Drones, and Video to Create Realtime Data Driven Strategies for the America's Cup

There’s a drone always following the boat. So we always have drone pictures, and that’s a good thing that we have everything synced together. So all the engineers, they just can grab all this data, to see how the boat performs under which conditions. They see what changes it made, due to the changes they made on the boat. That’s the biggest challenge basically, because sometimes you don’t know if the change you’re doing is as good as the theory tells you. So they go back and forth, and back and forth.

Over the last week, they went out three times. Today they took the boat off the water, took all the data. They analyzed it. They made some changes, put the boat back in the water. So they had hectic times.

Brent Leary: Is that gonna be what happens tonight as well?

Benedict: I think they went out tonight, or this afternoon again to do some little testing again, but the boat performance wasn’t the issue today. We had two not so good stories I should say.

Brent Leary: Okay, well let’s talk a little bit maybe about the future. What do you think is going to happen with the use of technology and data two years from now, four years from now?

Benedict: So I’m not sure how familiar your audience is about the America’s Cup, the tricky thing is, the winner takes all the rights to decide what’s gonna happen. So right now, it’s a very technology driven game, because the boats are leading edge, they’re foiling, a lot of technology involved, so maybe in the next Cup, we might not foil, because the winner decides on what boats we’re gonna race. So that is gonna be a tricky thing.

For sure there’s also technology involved, in order to make the boat as fast as possible to the given rules they decide, but right now we don’t know. Is it a foiling boat? Is it a catamaran? Is it a monohull? Is it a trimaran? We have no idea. So if Oracle will win, there’s already a kind of set scenario which four teams agreed on, how to proceed, so there’s already a schedule, and they decided on boat designs. But if Emirates Team New Zealand keeps them going, you don’t know what happens. We don’t know. They might go back and say we’re going to race on monohulls as we did in 2007 with the America’s Cup class boats. So you don’t know.

This article, “Benedict of Oracle Team USA: How Sensors, Data, Drones and Video Shape the Chase for the America’s Cup” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Complete Guide to Using Stock Photos in Your Marketing

When you hear the term ‘stock photo’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

My hunch is it’s probably a photo of a group of friends awkwardly laughing, business people staring at charts on a wall, or something along those lines.

Probably not the best connotations, right?

Used correctly, though, free stock photos can really bring your ads, blog posts, and content to life.

And at Buffer, we use stock photos daily.

Here’s why: