We aren't going to call 2009 the seminal year in the rise of social media, social networking or any of the novel digital applications and media that fly under the banner Web 2.0. That would be a bit presumptuous. But this year did bring a bumper crop of notable developments across the social Web and digital media, and we thought it would be worthwhile to commemorate a few of them.
We've assembled a top 10 list in loosely considered order of significant themes and plot points in the unfolding story of the remaking of the media landscape―social and otherwise. Enjoy!
But this is a bigger story than just a win for Amazon. For years, e-readers had been something of a laughing stock in the tech industry -- big hype, no sales. Now it's one of the fastest-growing categories in consumer electronics. Barnes & Noble and Sony both had trouble keeping their devices in stock through the holiday season. Numerous firms introduced or announced plans for new devices this year, with many more to come in 2010, leading to breathless stories that run along the lines of "How Amazon Reinvented the Book." Hyperbole aside, the Kindle and its competitors are forging a new market that Forrester Research is projecting to double in 2010, offering a small ray of hope for beleaguered print publications -- from books to magazines to newspapers.
9. The 'Craigslist killer' - Less significant for the facts of the crime―a medical student allegedly murdered an escort he solicited on Craigslist―than the colorful aftermath, the story of Philip Markoff was a case study in the sensationalism that has accompanied age-old crimes committed with the aid of new media. Markoff was quickly dubbed the "Craigslist Killer," a villain whom ambitious politicians seized on to launch an attack against an immensely popular and almost entirely benign Web site.
Had Markoff met the woman is accused of murdering through a newspaper classified ad or the numerous escort services that advertise in the yellow pages, this would have been a non-story. But because it was Craigslist, a relatively new and still not entirely understood online service, the case became a sensation; just as have some instances of cyber-bullying and sexual predation on social networks. Thanks to the grandstanding of elected officials like South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, Craigslist spent much of the first half of the year bathed in negative publicity, reminding us that in certain circles, that which is new is feared.