Jon Stapley and Karen Sheard round up the top trending internet stories of the year

Animals riding other animals

This was the year of the portmanteau animal meme. It all kicked off with an image of a weasel riding a woodpecker, which went viral under the hashtag #weaselpecker. This led to instances of other animals riding the bandwagon, so to speak, with a #racoongator and #croweagle also making their appearances across the internet.

Taylor Swift ‘rights grab’

Taylor Swift caused a social-media storm after complaining that Apple’s streaming service offered unfair terms for artists, only to be accused of hypocrisy over her own unfair contracts with photographers. It all was resolved after both Apple and Taylor listened to public opinion and revised their contract terms.

Facebook ‘image grab’

Facebook accidentally claimed to own the rights to everyone’s images, after an employee wrote to the site Photo Stealers  ‘…once something is posted or uploaded onto Facebook it becomes Facebook’s property.’ A spokesperson later clarified the email was incorrect, but not before it had caused widespread criticism across social media. Oops.

Adele Instagram announcement

In November, Adele almost broke the internet by opening an Instagram account and posting a stunning image of herself to reveal her new album release date. Within an hour her profile had attracted almost 20,000 followers, and her following now already numbers millions.

Sneaky fox

Paul Nuttall, one of AP’s website writers, caused a surprise sensation on sharing site Reddit.com after posting a picture
of a ‘sneaky’ fox in his garden. After remaining top of r/photography (Reddit’s photography channel) for the day, the image had over a million views – a highly impressive number for any website, let alone for a single image. He was approached by a number of news agencies for his story, but guess which publication got the scoop!

The year of Instagram

It’s surpassed Twitter in terms of users and has taken over our lives…

instagram-app-iconWhen they come to write the social media history books (which they will), 2015 will be known as the year of Instagram. Following its purchase by Facebook back in 2012, the simple social network – in which users share filtered lo-fi shots mostly of avocados and lattes – has grown and grown, and in September 2015 it announced that it had crossed the 400-million-user threshold.

What’s most significant about this is that Instagram has officially surpassed Twitter in terms of users. Instagram took just nine months to go from 300 million to 400 million, while Twitter holds steady at 316 million. Advertising revenues are expected to boom to $1.48 billion in 2016. Currently, 80 million photos are shared on Instagram every day. This bears repeating: 80 million every day.

Instagram isn’t just for pictures of your breakfast – NASA posted an image of Pluto to its account

Changes and landmarks

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Instagram isn’t just for pictures of your breakfast – NASA posted an image of Pluto to its account

This was also the year that Instagram shook things up a little. Historically, it has only been possible to post square-format images to Instagram, which meant your carefully composed image had to be cropped. This was actually an enormous part of the site’s identity, reflecting its dedication to streamlined simplicity. However, in August the site announced that it would be rolling out the option to share photos and videos in portrait and landscape orientation.

It makes sense that Instagram is expanding its image-sharing options, as more and more images of significance are being beamed out to the world via the service. NASA Instagrammed a gorgeous image of dwarf planet Pluto from closer than ever before. The All Blacks lifted the Rugby World Cup 2015 trophy on Instagram to the acclaim of more than 21,000 likes. Barack and Michelle Obama are both on Instagram. As we head into 2016, its place in the global conversation is only going to increase.

Four top Twitter tips

Connecting with other photographers can pay huge dividends in the long run

iPhone-6Even though it didn’t start as an image-focused service, Twitter has evolved into a great way for photographers to connect. If you’re looking to talk pictures, kit and more with like-minded folks, then you’ll get a huge amount out of it. It’s also a terrific place to get your work seen by a wider audience – if this is something you want to do, though, it’s important to use the service correctly. Make it your resolution to get your photos noticed on Twitter next year, and make sure it happens with our top tips.

Follow the right people

The perfect cocktail of people to follow includes a mixture of prominent photographers, aspiring amateurs on the same level as you, influential voices in the world of photography and art, and fabulous weekly photo magazines. (Speaking of which, find us @AP_Magazine).

Talk!

Resist the urge to be a mysterious, unknowable force, graciously breaking your silence every so often with the odd image or two. With Twitter you get out what you put in, so talk to other photographers. Compliment them on their work, ask for advice, and be encouraging. They’re called ‘social’ networks for a reason, but it’s amazing how many Twitter users – especially photographers – can forget this.

Share more than your own posts

To the same end, if another photographer posts a fantastic image or an interesting link, share it. Once again, the community will be much more rewarding if you treat it as more than just a means to promote yourself. Our tip: try to get into the habit of sharing something of someone else’s at least three times a week.

Try video

Twitter lets you share GIFs and short videos as well as images, so make use of them. Even if you’re not much of a videographer, a brief video from your latest shoot location could be something your followers really enjoy. Be creative and have some fun.