IT IS the end of the year again, and that means another 31.5 million seconds have passed us by. If those seconds were precious moments to treasure, how would you rate your 2012? Good, bad or you can’t remember?

Thanks to the Internet, our societal memory is improving. Archiving the history of our culture has now reached a level of detail never before thought possible. People are creating more petabytes of information every year, and most of that automatically too!

With its Zeitgeist, Google has been demonstrating just how its very own search technology can capture what people were interested in year after year. Google Zeitgeist works by taking the millions of searches made by users all around the world throughout the year, and then analysing that data into trends.

This year, out of 1.2 trillion searches in 146 languages, the top search was “Whitney Houston”, presumably right after the singer’s untimely passing in February, followed by “Gangnam Style” and “Hurricane Sandy” took the third position.

Locally, the top search was for “SAPS” (Sistem Analisis Peperiksaan Sekolah) – a result that really puzles me. But it was followed by “Gangnam Style” and “9GAG” respectively, restoring some faith that our youth on the Internet are still the fun-loving people I assumed them to be.

However, Google is not the only “play maker” in town any more. This year, social networking sites – notably, Facebook and Twitter – have also released their own analysis of the top things of 2012.

Housed on the webpage is an interesting take on the “Year in Review” concept by Facebook. Rather than analysing search results, Facebook looks at its users’ posts and the most widely shared and viewed content on its network to derive the “top stories” of 2012.

The top meme on the Facebook list was “To Be Honest” (TBH) while “Gangnam Style” was a disappointing fifth.

What I really liked about Facebook’s list was its ability to break down everything down to the type of content. Facebook could tell you the top videos shared, the top songs played, and what people were actually talking about throughout 2012.

Then there’s the personalised look back at the year. Surf over to Facebook Stories and you’ll see a big blue button inviting you to find out what your personal top moments of 2012 were. Click on it and Facebook will analyse your Facebook profile and give you what it thinks are your top 20 moments. Some of the moments are no brainers – like our birthdays for example.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find a video of my daughter singing (uploaded in January) that made it’s way to this list.

This function has helped me relive some of the great moments I had almost forgotten about this year.

Similarly, Twitter has also introduced its own look back at 2012 at Like Facebook, Twitter collects your tweets throughout the year and lets you know your top 2012 moments
Twitter partnered with visual company to deliver your moments in an interactive infograph. You can pull a “slider” from the beginning of 2012 to the end to see what your top tweets were and what your friends were talking about.

Looking back at my own 2012 through the eyes of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has made me realise just how much I’ve done or experienced this year.

Precious moments especially the pictures I took of my kids (too few, in my opinion) and the issues I discussed were easily captured and pointed out.

It’s no wonder that many great men and women kept diaries back in the days not just to simply jot things down, but to remind themselves of the things they had done throughout the year and the lessons they had learnt.

Thankfully, now we have social networks for that.

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