For the past 10 years Google has always published a year-end Zeitgeist report on the major search trends around the world, 2011 is no except – they have sorted billions of searches to capture the year’s 10 fastest-rising global queries and the spirit of 2011.


Social media is open to all aspects of society and is subject to the same rules regarding Freedom of Speech that govern us offline. Article 100 of the Norwegian constitution states that “No person may be held liable in law for having imparted or received information, ideas or messages unless this can be justified in relation to the grounds for freedom of expression, which are the seeking of truth, the promotion of democracy and the individual’s freedom to form opinions”.


In a previous post, freelance copywriter and editor Rachel Pictor explored the relationship between individuals and the Internet, with an emphasis on social media in the context of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. She concluded that social media performs a lot of functions which fulfil the needs of individuals, enabling them to interact, do business and act creatively and spontaneously.


Within Europe, we are fortunate to have a relatively good penetration of Internet access, admittedly some countries are better off than others; for example in Finland, the Internet is a human right and broadband access is a legal requirement for the entire country.


In May 2009 Harvard Business Review published a report on the latest social media statistics relating to the gender of users. A survey of 300,542 Twitter users put men at the forefront of this new media. These statistics went against the trends of other popular social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook that suggested women dominate the social networking sphere.


Web 2.0 has turned the internet into a kind of world. Twitter is a country. Facebook is a much larger country – more similar in size to Russia or the USA. Within the country of Facebook are smaller regions like counties or cities – groups and gaming communities like Farmville. World of Warcraft (admittedly more ‘gaming’ than ‘social’) even looks like a real place with visually realised people and valuable real estate! Just like the real world (and the playground), people make friends and get into fights.