Social Media Rundown: Facebook’s Data Dilemma; the Rise of Instagram Stories; A Twitter Edit Button?

FRONTLINE: The Facebook Dilemma
Watch the two-part series “The Facebook Dilemma” on PBS.

The New York Times published a rather scathing look inside the ongoing crisis at Facebook driven by privacy issues and the spread of disinformation. Although I haven’t read the full piece yet (it is quite long), it’s clear it takes particular aim at CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg for their negligence in allowing the company to get into this mess in the first place. If you find the NYT story of interesting, be sure to also watch the two-part documentary from PBS’s Frontline “The Facebook Dilemma.”

Instagram Stories have not only grown at an incredible pace (see chart below), it has also shown success in other ways, like the million-dollar business of designing people’s Stories. Some surprising news came from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regarding a possible edit button for tweets. What might such an edit button look like? How many times could you edit a tweet? And for how long after it’s sent? That’s what the folks at Twitter need to figure out as they decide whether or not to roll out such a feature.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Learn section for tips on building thought leadership and how to maximize your videos shared on social media.

Social Media News:

  • Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (The New York Times). This is a long read that I’m planning to take on this weekend, but the key point is that both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg bear direct responsibility for the company’s woes: “Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.” On Sandberg: “While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation.” So, Facebook is not exactly showing expertise in crisis communication. If you do read the full piece, be sure to also read Facebook’s response.
  • Facebook and “The Data Dilemma” (PBS Frontline). Speaking of Facebook, this is a nice video overview of what Facebook knows about you, and how it knows it – from the use of “shadow profiles,” to the main ways Facebook tracks you on the web, even when you’re not on Facebook. This is a companion video to the much longer two-part investigation of Facebook’s privacy controversy that you should definitely watch. It’s also on YouTube.
  • Designing People’s Instagram Stories Is Now a Million-Dollar Business (Fast Company). With 11 million users, at a rate of 100,000 app downloads per day, Unfold, the Instagram story template app, is set to bring in $2.6 million in revenue for 2018.
  • Dorsey Says Twitter Is Thinking About an Edit Button to Fix Typos in Tweets (The Next Web). Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company has to carefully consider use cases for the edit button before making it a reality – and it could potentially be tooled to help fix typos. In my opinion, this would be the biggest change in the company’s history; even bigger than increasing the character count to 280.
  • LinkedIn Expects Media Biz to Bring in $2 Billion in 2018 (Axios). LinkedIn’s increased ad revenue can be attributed to higher user engagement on the site, driven by recent changes to pages and the LinkedIn news feed.

Learn:

  • How to Use Social Media to Build Thought Leadership (Social Media Today). From sharing quality content and knowing your audience to providing original research and building a professional profile, this is a nice listicle of how to position yourself or your brand as a thought leader.
  • How to Maximize the Exposure of Your Videos: A Strategic Plan (Social Media Examiner). This blog post has a list of five ways to post, promote, and distribute videos more effectively.

Chart of the Week:

We Analyzed 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 of the World’s Top Brands (Buffer). 400 million people around the world use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (with that number rapidly growing). Click the image for more stats and strategic insight into Instagram Stories.

Growth of the Stories Format from 2014-2018.
As Snapchat’s growth has been nearly stagnant for the past three years, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have seen explosive growth.

What are the top social media news stories and learnings that I missed this week?

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Social Media Rundown: Twitter Fights Bots; Facebook Shows Decline in Europe; Gab is the Fringe Forum of Choice for Extremists

The top social media stories of the week focus on two familiar social networking giants (Facebook and Twitter) and one that is likely only familiar to a few (Gab). For the unfamiliar, Gab is a fringe social networking site that promises a guarantee of free speech, no matter how offensive. Robert D. Bowers, the suspect who allegedly opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh grew a large following on Gab — where he had a verified account — by sharing a steady stream of anti-Semitic statements.

As the major social media companies make important changes in their platforms to curtail the spread of fake news and limit hate speech by banning users who violate their self-set community standards, new platforms like Gab will continue to crop up. When extremists are banned from one social networking site, they usually just move to another platform, which is often a fringe forum, “where there is far less content to counter many of the false conspiracy claims that people being radicalized are likely to see.”

On that note, Twitter is busy making it easier to report fake accounts; although I remain skeptical that adding the reporting option “the account tweeting this is fake” will have much of an impact. Meanwhile, despite its good intentions, the Twitter Midterms Page was flooded with hyperpartisan and false news shortly after launch.

Be sure to check out the two charts below to see how ubiquitous Facebook has become. And don’t skip the learn section for an inside look at the social media strategy of the Financial Times and how to combine email and social ads for better conversions.

Social Media News:

  • Twitter Now Lets You Report Accounts That You Suspect Are Bots (The Verge). In Twitter’s ongoing fight against spammers and fake accounts, you can now select “it’s suspicious or spam” on a tweet to see the option “the account tweeting this is fake.”
  • Zuckerberg Says the Future Is Sharing via 100b Messages & 1b Stories/Day (TechCrunch). Stories are where the majority of Facebook sharing growth is happening, and Facebook Stories are gaining momentum after a slow and buggy start. Look no further than these stats to see just how popular Messenger has become:
Facebook Messenger is now the company's most popular product with 1.3 billion monthly active users and 10 billion messages sent each month.
Facebook Messenger is becoming more and more popular with 1.3 billion people using the service each month.
  • Twitter Just Launched a Midterms Page and It’s Already Surfacing Trolls and False, Hyperpartisan News (BuzzFeed News). Just hours into its rollout, the ‘latest’ tab on the Midterms Page was promoting hyperpartisan and false news, as well as tweets from seemingly automated accounts.
  • The Pittsburgh Suspect Lived in the Web’s Darkest Corners (The Atlantic). Robert Bowers was an avid user of Gab, a social network popular among white nationalists and the alt-right. Gab allows users to say pretty much anything they want. The social networking site’s maximalist approach to free speech has made it the de facto home of extremist figures who have been banned from mainstream social networks for making threats, inciting violence, or promoting racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic ideas.

Learn:

  • Inside the Social Media Strategy at the Financial Times (Simon Owens via Medium). The Financial Times is projected to hit 1 million paying digital subscribers by next year, and has done so while maintaining a hard paywall. According to FT’s head of social media, their strategy is not all that different than if they were operating without a paywall. “Putting this stuff on social in a compelling way, a shareable way, in a way people like and want to engage with, is a good practice for us. It gets our journalism out in front of more people than it would otherwise. And also, it helps us reach audiences we wouldn’t otherwise.”
  • How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions (Social Media Examiner). Read on to learn how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to improve conversions in three steps.

Chart of the Week:

Facebook’s User Base Is Declining in Europe, and That Ought to Terrify Its American Bosses (BusinessInsider). Facebook has more users in Europe than it does in the US. The downshift comes after the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the implementation of GDPR.

Facebook Monthly Active Users in Europe has shown a decline in the first three quarter of 2018.
Monthly Active Users on Facebook has shown a drop in growth in Europe for the first time in the company’s history.

Social Media Rundown: Pivot to Video? Not So Fast; Facebook Hack; Russian Trolls Influence Brexit

Facebook thumbs up.
Even as Facebook executives were insisting that video consumption was skyrocketing, it was becoming clear that some of the metrics the company had used to calculate time spent on videos were wrong.

Not a lot happening in the world of social media this week; just the usual: shady Facebook news, data breaches, and more revelations on Russia’s influence on the Brexit referendum. For the learning section, I’ve stumbled upon two articles about using video to engage with your online audiences — check it out!

Social Media News:

  • Did Facebook’s Faulty Data Push News Publishers to Make Terrible Decisions on Video? (NiemanLab). Publishers’ “pivot to video” was driven largely by a belief that if Facebook was seeing users, in massive numbers, shift to video from text, the trend must be real. Perhaps we’re not actually in the midst of a video revolution.
  • Facebook’s Latest Hack Was by Spammers Who Just Wanted Money (Mashable). Facebook’s latest hack had the information of 29 million users scraped, but apparently by scammers wanting financial gain, rather than for political or ideological purposes.
  • Russian Trolls Sent Thousands of Pro-Leave Messages on Day of Brexit Referendum, Twitter Data Reveals (The Telegraph). The day of the Brexit vote, Russia mobilized an army of trolls, which at one stage included 3,800 accounts. The fake accounts Tweeted out 1,102 posts with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU. Now, how will Twitter prevent this from happening again?

Learn:

  • Twitter Has Renewed Its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know (TopRank Marketing). Once the dominate player in live video, Twitter fell to the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This blog post has a few things to consider before jumping into live Twitter video.
  • 4 Ways to Use LinkedIn Video for Your Business (Social Media Examiner). Speaking of video, this article has some solid ideas on how you can use native LinkedIn video to engage with your audience.

Social Media Rundown: Unilad Going Under; Nobody Reads Trump’s Tweets; Another Facebook Breach; Twitter Removes Accounts

It’s been a fairly big week in the world of social media with yet another Facebook security breach, more Twitter account removals, and the bankruptcy of Unilad, the mega Facebook viral publisher. Plus, be sure to make your way down to the learn section for a newly discovered tool for turning audio interviews into short video clips and some tips on creating buzz on social media.

Social Media News:

  • Unilad: Facebook Viral Publisher Goes into Administration (The Guardian). The website’s parent company, Bentley Harrington, has debts of more than £6m. The company, which began life as a student “banter” page, is one of the world’s biggest publishers of viral content. Many viral publishers have struggled to translate their enormous reach into a profitable business model, owing to the high cost of making bespoke native ads.
  • Trump’s Tweets Are Less Read and Influential Than People May Think (Axios). Nearly 60% of Americans rarely or never read Trump’s tweets. Follow the link for a few more stats on public trust, news media, and politicians.
  • Twitter Removes 50 Accounts Posing as Republican Party Members in Pre-Election Crackdown (The Telegraph). The company said it was acting to “protect the integrity of elections” by banning users who had stolen profile information from others. It said it was deleting 9.4 million accounts a week overall as it battles a wave of fake users.
  • Facebook Reports Security Breach Affecting 50 Mn Accounts Globally (Inc42). The safety breach on Sept. 25 was due to attackers exploiting a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted the “View As” a feature on profiles. Facebook claims to have fixed the issue.

Learn:

  • How to Repurpose Audio Content for Social Media and Beyond (Social Media Examiner). This is where I discovered Headliner App, a free online tool that easily converts podcasts (or any audio) into a short video (limited to 10 minutes in length). Could be handy for chopping up audio interviews into bite-sized content to share on social media.
  • How to Generate Social Media Buzz for Your Product (Social Media Explorer). From creating a branded hashtag to hosting an event or contest, this article has some quick tips for creating buzz on social media.

Chart of the Week:

According to this chart from Sprout Social, measuring ROI is still the biggest challenge for social media marketers.

Measuring the ROI of social media marketing remains a top challenge for marketers.
Top Challenges for Social Media Marketers, according to Sprout Social.

Social Media Rundown: Facebook to Launch Dating Service; LinkedIn Turns 15; Make Better Cover Photos

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces Facebook dating service.
Facebook announced its new dating service at its F8 conference. Photo via Mashable.

Despite the privacy concerns hanging over Facebook, the social networking company has announced its plan to launch a new dating service. But it won’t just be a hook-up site. No, no, this will be all about finding serious relationships. Meanwhile, its Instagram product just keeps getting better and is definitely drawing folks away from Snapchat (see below). And happy birthday, LinkedIn!

Don’t forget to check out the learn section for tips on creating a Facebook cover photo and how you can use lookalike audiences to better target your Facebook ads.

Social Media News:

  • Facebook to launch dating service as Zuckerberg takes aim at Tinder (The Telegraph). It was only a matter of time; Facebook has come full circle. You’ll soon be able to create a dating profile that is separate from your Facebook profile with potential matches recommended based on dating preferences, common interests, and mutual friends. The idea is already being ripped for catering to the older demographic.
  • Instagram debuts video chat, opens Stories up to developers (Mashable). Instagram seems to just keep rolling out more and more exciting features and beating Snapchat in its own game. Users will soon be able to share content from third-party apps directly to Stories. Plus, video chat, augmented-reality camera effects, and a redesigned Explore tab are all rolling out soon.
  • LinkedIn Turns 15 (LinkedIn Blog). Happy birthday, LinkedIn! View a ‘then and now’ infographic to see what’s changed in the past 15 years.

Learn:

  • How to Create Great Facebook Cover Photos: Sizes, Styles, Examples (Hootsuite Blog). The cover photo (or video) is the first thing people see when visiting a Facebook Page so it’s important to not only have an on-brand image, but to also change it up from time-to-time. This post gives you everything you need to know to create a new cover photo and some examples to get your creative juices flowing.
  • 3 Overlooked Facebook Lookalike Audiences That Will Improve Your Ad Results (Social Media Examiner). This post takes a thorough look at targeting people who spend time on your website, who spend money on your site, and people who’ve watched 75% of a video.

What big news did I miss this week? Please let me know.

 

Social Media Rundown: EU to Regulate Tech Companies, Snapchat Considers Unskippable Ads

Perhaps you’ve been getting lots of emails and other notifications about privacy policy updates or a new terms of service doc to agree to? You can blame new regulation from the European Union for that. More specifically, you can blame Facebook, but none of this seems to be hurting the company’s bottom line.

Animated GIF: Americans Say They Want Privacy, but Act as if They Don’t.
From a 2014 NYT article “Americans Say They Want Privacy, but Act as if They Don’t.”

In other social media news, Snapchat seems to think unskippable six-second ads are a good money-generating option and YouTube has been running ads on extremist channels, unbeknownst to its advertisers.

Finally, be sure to check out the learning section for ideas to improve your social media strategy and a look at the future of social media marketing.

Social Media News:

  • Will the US Regulate Facebook? Europe is about to do Just That (CNN). The European Union is preparing to enforce a new data protection law that gives consumers more control over how their personal data are used. Ah, so this is why I’ve been getting so many privacy policy and terms of service updates lately.
  • Facebook Promises in New Ad that Everything’s Going to be OK (Mashable). It’s actually a very excellent ad. How could you not fall in love with Facebook all over again?
  • YouTube Ran Ads from Hundreds of Brands on Extremist Channels (CNN). Ads from over 300 companies and organizations ran on YouTube channels promoting white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda. Be careful where you place your ads.
  • Viacom and Snap are Eyeing Snapchat Stars for Shows (Digiday). Unskippable six-second video ads? This could be the true beginning of Snapchat’s demise.

Learn:

  • 6 Effective Elements to Add to Your Social Media Strategy (Social Media Today). Want to stay ahead of the curve? This article suggests adding a Messenger bot, using more video, investing in paid ads, and using Stories on Facebook and Instagram.
  • 10 Ideas Driving the Future of Social Media Marketing (Mark Schaefer via Medium). This list debuted at Social Media Marketing World in March. This is a much better retelling than the simple notes I took. Ideas range from AI and smart speakers to government regulation (see aforementioned news headlines) and challenges of getting through all the content clutter.

Did I get everything? Please let me know if you have something to add.

Is Peach the next big social networking app? Or is it already seeing a slow, painful death?

 

peach-app
“Peach is a refreshingly fun and simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself.” -Apple Store description.

 

Peach, the private social networking app loaded with innovative features, but lacking in usability and a large user base, may already be a thing of the past, according to recent headlines.

Peach officially launched eight days ago.

You read that right. Peach launched a mere eight days ago and its potential is already in question. Is the online world really that consumed (and satisfied) with only a handful of social networking mainstays (namely Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) that an innovative, exciting new app can’t penetrate the market? Sadly, it’s getting increasingly difficult for a new social networking service to compete with the big guys. Peach has my attention, and the potential contend with the heavy hitters, but can it rise to the challenge?

It’s been awhile since a new social networking site or app has really caught my eye. Draw Something was more of a mobile game than a social networking app, but it definitely roped me in due to its incredibly addictive attributes.

Path, the social networking app that set a limit of only 50 friends you could connect with, came and went before I even had a chance to write about it.

Pinterest definitely won me over, even triggering a blog post about the visual bookmarking tool being a ‘game changer.’

Ello was apparently all the rave for a few short months about a year ago. I was an early adopter of Ello, but never really saw its benefits. With nothing particularly innovative or unique about it, I stopped using Ello just about as soon as I signed up. It’s still in service, but is anyone talking about it? Have you Ello’d lately?

I never wrote about Snapchat, but we all know the success the disappearing messaging app has seen. Snapchat is so popular that it’s now entering its “mom moment” of social networking sites—when an app or service becomes so popular that even your mom starts using it.

Maybe I’m not too good at this whole trend-spotting thing. Of the services mentioned above, Pinterest is the only social networking site that has had real lasting power. Pinterest is growing, and I still find myself browsing through hundreds of pins nearly every day.

Starting a new online social networking service is a difficult task. Just barely into its second week of operation, Peach is already seeing a flood of naysayers. A recent blog post on Social Media Today suggests Peach won’t stick, but that existing social networking power houses should adopt some of its features. A Mashable article suggests the ‘week-old social network named Peach may already be over,’ and that Facebook should buy it up.

One thing most who have used Peach love is how innovative it is. Its ‘magic words’ feature allows you to type in certain words or phrases that prompts a special action to include in your post. It’s a fun addition and one that most people would love to see integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Magic words include typing things such as “gif” to search for an animated gif within the app to easily and seamlessly include in your post. Typing “draw” gives you the ability to make a quick sketch to include with your post. Typing “weather” brings up current conditions, “here” adds your location, “goodmorning” prompts the time of day along with a couple emojis, and so on.

Peach is getting a ton of coverage for such a young start up, but unless it finds a way to dramatically grow its user base and greatly improve its ease of use, it’ll end up as a mere footnote in social media history (or a social media ghost town of sorts). Lastly, Peach must continue to innovate. It’s what helped Peach make a splash in the first place and it will need to keep giving users more in order to stay alive and relevant.

What are your thoughts? Will Peach last? Are you on Peach? Add me! Peach username: @eric_wheeler

Further reading:

Eric Wheeler is a social media specialist based in Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and his Master of Science degree in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University. He is currently taking Northwestern University’s Social Marketing Specialization MOOC offered by Coursera. Follow Eric on Twitter and Instagram.

#Infographic: Are you Suffering from Facebook Fatigue? Need a Break?

Image of an infographic about fatigue from Facebook.
Do you need a break from Facebook?

If you’re like most people, a Facebook vacation may be in your future…

Facebook now has more than 1 billion users. That’s a lot. And most of us are aware the social networking site is the largest in the world. Facebook has seemingly proliferated nearly every crevice of the ‘interwebs.’ Websites are using Facebook widgets in place of the ‘traditional’ comment section, the Facebook share button sits next to nearly every blog post and most people check their Facebook news feed several times a day.

For many of us, Facebook is such a huge part of our lives that it can be hard to get away from the daily dose of friend updates, brand pages marketing their products and news about the site itself. I get made fun of for my constant social media consumption–I’m always on the hunt for articles spanning a wide array of topics just so I can share it across my networks. All this Facebook usage and consumption of updates from our online social networks can be rather taxing. Even I take a break from time-to-time. According to the infographic from onlinecollegecourses.com below, I’m not alone–61 percent of current Facebook users have taken a break from Facebook for one week or longer.

The infographic states several reasons why people feel the need to take a brief hiatus from Facebook. For me, it’s just nice to ‘unplug’ for a day or two just to clear my mind a bit. Take a look at the infographic below and let me know if you’ve taken a break from Facebook or if you plan to soon.

Facebook Fatigue Infographic

My Top 5 Super Bowl Ads of 2013

It’s time for a breakdown of my top five spots from advertising’s biggest day. This was certainly a good year for Super Bowl advertising and an even bigger year for social media during the big game. Last year I ended up picking five funny spots and this year I have a more balanced list (as balanced as a top five list can get). Brands mostly went for heart-warming over hysterical this year and many of the comedic spots were really not that funny in my opinion or they were produced a little too over-the-top.

Social media played a role in this year’s brand bowl more so than ever before. If you’re a marketer reading this, I’m sure you’re well aware of the brilliant and timely posts delivered by the Oreo social media team. When the lights went out at the Superdome, Oreo pushed out the below image on Facebook and Twitter in a matter of minutes:

This was an image with real staying power. It picked up another thousand plus retweets the day after the big game, the Facebook post got over 20,000 ‘likes’ and close to 7,000 shares and the quick and witty post picked up tons of free press. Oreo is certainly on top of its game and made sure its ‘Cream Or Cookie’ Super Bowl spot was fully supported with social media build up and timely posts sent out before, during and even after the game. Social media activity like this can only be achieved with a command center and all hands on deck. The social media activity during the Super Bowl this year was certainly impressive, but it’s time to break down my favorite ads.

#5. Samsung Mobile USA – The Next Big Thing

I’m not usually one to fall for celebrity endorsements, but these two are hilarious. Not sure how much the ad will help in its epic battle for marketshare over Apple, but it can’t hurt.

#4. Viva Young – Taco Bell Game Day Commercial

This commercial is great. I can only wish I will be this cool when I’m sitting around in a retirement home a few decades from now. Only thing bad about it is now I have that Fun. song stuck in my head, which I spent most of 2012 trying to get rid of. At least it was in Spanish.

#3. OREO – Whisper Fight

A whisper fight in a library? Brilliant. Though I’m a little surprised it hadn’t been done before. Again, Oreo absolutely stole the show from a branding and marketing standpoint. They even took this moment to launch an Instagram account. Before the Super Bowl, Oreo had around 2,200 followers on Instagram and garnered around 35,000 followers by the end of Sunday night. Props to 360i and the Oreo social media command center.

#2. Budweiser Super Bowl Ad — The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”

This ad literally brought tears to the eyes of some of my coworkers. With several terribly awful ads from Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch InBev totally redeemed itself with this tear-jerker of an ad.

#1. Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial “Farmer”

This one struck a chord with me from the first frame and had chills going through my spine by the end. Growing up in northwest Oklahoma and listening to farmers talk about the weather and wheat prices everyday definitely had an influence on this year’s pick. Paul Harvey had a big part in my life as well. Seemed like anytime I showed up at my grandparents house in Alva, Okla., Paul Harvey was delivering his famous “The Rest of the Story” segments on the kitchen radio. It also helped that the commercial was beautifully done with shots from a National Geographic photographer and a renowned documentary photographer. Nicely done, Dodge.

Bonus spots:

Because of my Oklahoma roots and because the Flaming Lips are just incredible in general: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe | Big Game Ad | “Epic Playdate

Because I love awkward moments: Unattended Laundry: You needed the machine. You got caught panty-handed (Speed Stick)

Because I love Amy Poehler: Best Buy – Asking Amy: Official 2013 Best Buy Game Day Commercial

My Personal Top 10 Instagram Photos of 2012

My nine best on Instagram from 2012.
My nine best on Instagram from 2012.

Another year has gone by. I’ve been through some fairly major life changes. New city. New job. New friends. New experiences.

Instagram has gone through some major changes as well. The photo-sharing app with vintage filters opened its doors to Android users and a few days later was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in early April. A few Instagram users freaked out about the availability on the Android Market and even more freaked out after the news of Facebook’s purchase. Of course, this did nothing to slow its growth. In fact, during this 10 day period, the app saw explosive growth and ended up adding another 10 million users–1 million new users a day.

Then Instagram changed its privacy policy and people freaked out again–this time with the idea that Facebook was going to start selling users’ photos. This would all come to a close soon enough after Instagram apologized to its users and vowed to remove language that suggests they have the right to sell users’ photos. Oh, and a new version with a new filter was recently launched. Nice timing.

Now that you’re all caught up on the latest happenings of Instagram; let’s take a look at some of my personal top photos. For the second consecutive year, I have combed through my hundreds of photos and picked my top 10 of the year. I posted a good number of images shot with my Nikon D90, but this list is comprised of only photos shot and edited with my iPhone. You can take a look back at my top 10 photos of 2011 to see I have continued to grow as a photographer and get more creative with my shots. To view all my best photos from 2012, follow my on Instagram (@eric_wheeler) and view my hashtag #wheelers_best_of_2012. Take a look at my top 10 and let me know what you think!