10 Years of Hot in Social Media – 10+ Marketing Experts Share Their Memories

Today (December 12, 2022) marks an important milestone for our digital marketing blog: 10 years of Hot in Social Media! 🥳

I remember the early days when organic traffic on Facebook was real – when we had a ton of comments and +1s on our Google+ page and real engagement on our Instagram page.

When I launched HotinSocialMedia.com (12.12.12), all the social media channels were still very young or didn’t even exist (take TikTok, which was launched only in September 2016):

  • Google+: 1 year
  • Instagram: 2 years
  • Pinterest: 3 years
  • Twitter: 6 years
  • Facebook: 8 years
  • LinkedIn: 9 years

Fast forward, and there are 4.62 billion users on social media channels out of a population that reached 8 billion last month.

The power of social media channels is unbridled. One of the best memories I still have from these ten years of managing the Hot in Social Media blog was at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

That year I wanted to do something different for our annual marketing experts roundup article about the digital marketing trends of 2019. I asked a few top marketing experts to send me their predictions and film themselves as they discussed these trends for 2019.

Despite not knowing them in person, I was so excited and happy that 18 marketers had sent me their videos. You can read that article and the full videos here

Below you can read about one memorable experience in the last ten years of social media from other 10+ marketing experts.

I’m grateful to all these marketers for sharing their memories with us. Also, I’d like to thank everyone in the Hot in Social Media community and all our visitors who have read, shared and engaged with our content over the past ten years.

Gini Dietrich 
Randy Milanovic 
Mari Smith 
Christina Garnett 
Eric Doyle 
Julia Campbell 
Ravi Shukle 
Andy Crestodina 
Ted Rubin 
Alexandra Varodi 
Shane Barker
Marji J. Sherman 
Keri Jaehnig 
Neal Schaffer 
Ingrid Kibler 
Lilach Bullock 
Jeff Korhan 
Timothy Hughes 
Stephanie Nelson 
Adina Jipa 
Shelley Grierson

Please share with our Hot in Social Media community one memorable experience you had in the last ten years of social media.

Gini Dietrich

Founder and Author – Spin Sucks


In 2009, the economy crashed and many of us were sitting at our desks with nothing to do. At the time, social media was pretty new and we were using it to connect with people around the globe who worked in our industries or had our same interests and hobbies. It wasn’t long before we made friendships and created online parties.

Every Friday, we would all get on Twitter and have a little party. There was always a DJ who created a playlist. There was someone serving virtual treats. And we’d have conversations about where things were going. Thinking about the state of Twitter today, that memory makes me a little sad. We’ll never have that again.

Randy Milanovic

CEO – Kayak Marketing


My most memorable social media moment in 10 years is tough. There have been quite a few, so I’ll go with the most meaningful, which is very recent. Upon tweeting 4 photos of Moraine Lake from a new Twitter account, it blew up (17k views so far and more likes, comments, and retweets than I had followers at the time).

That engagement didn’t occur by accident. I followed best practices and have a goal to engage and join the NFT Photography community with a new account. I followed several large NFT accounts and got to know the people behind them. I shared their work. I commented on their posts. I followed the people they follow. And I made a commitment to engage daily. Over a 6-month period, I slowly gained followers and made friends. Near the end of September, NFT photographers began sharing my posts, commenting on my photos, and wishing me a GM back! It’s exciting … like GPlus all over again! 🙂

My key takeaway is that it’s never too late to kick off new relationships. Even on social. It doesn’t matter which platform. What matters most is the people we meet.

Mari Smith

Premier Facebook Marketing Expert, Social Media Thought Leader


Ha! I have SO many from which to choose in the past decade! I would say one of my top memories in the world of social media is being headhunted by Facebook in 2015 to travel to the US as the keynote speaker and trainer at the company’s series of local events. It was such a pleasure to teach small business owners the power of the Facebook (now Meta) family of apps and to have so many 1-on-1 meetings and consultations with these good folks.

I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Facebook in the company’s Dublin, Ireland, and London, England offices contributing to the company’s Blueprint training curriculum.

Christina Garnett

Principal Marketing Manager, Offline Community and Advocacy – HubSpot


Finding connections on Twitter through my tweet in December 2020. So many of us were burned out and alone, unable to unplug from social media while it felt like the world was burning. This tweet connected many of us and created a deeper sense of community.

Eric Doyle

Founder and Senior Consultant – Consult Crux


Seeing one of our clients post a piece of content on LinkedIn earned 15,000 pieces of engagement and 1.3 million views. They then converted that into $5 million worth of business by nurturing relationships and creating conversations. This was a person who didn’t know who to use Social Media before.

Julia Campbell

Author, Speaker, Podcaster – J Campbell Social Marketing LLC


One of the reasons that I used to love Twitter was the potential to connect with influencers and celebrities. For example, once, before a Michael Ian Black comedy show, I tweeted a photo of myself with a shirt that says VOTE and tagged him in it.

He then retweeted it to his 1.8 million followers with the caption, “Julia gets it!” I have been a big fan of his for years, and this was a huge thrill.

Ravi Shukle

Founder – Karma Wolf Social Media Agency


Well for those of you reading this who have been to London or who are familiar with the city, you will know in Piccadilly Circus, there is a huge digital screen. One of my first jobs was working as a social media manager for Samsung here in the UK.

As part of a Valentine’s Day campaign, I was able to share live tweets directly to the 2570 ft or 783-meter screen. Fans were sending in their Twitter messages, and I was directly sending it to the BIG screen – we even had some wedding proposals, and it was an amazing experience.

Andy Crestodina

Co-founder, CMO – Orbit Media Studios


Ten years ago, I was at a conference and met Mark Schaefer. I had only just heard about him through a friend on Twitter named Muhammad Saad. I walked up to Mark and told him that we have a mutual friend from Twitter and we immediately took a picture for Saad. That’s how I met my good friend, Mark. It was through a mutual Twitter friend from Pakistan! 

It’s beautiful when social media brings people together.  

Ted Rubin

Speaker / Author / Strategic Advisor … Provocateur


Congratulations to HotinSocialMedia.com, and their community, as they celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Hot in Social Media blog. They have asked me to share a memorable experience. As this has becme an intrinsic part of my personal brand, I thiink its the best story to share among many others…

Building your brand can feel like an uphill battle at times. Anyone with a clever idea and the guts to try it can do so on social media’s global platform—and there are a whole lot of people out there with clever ideas.

How do you set yourself apart when there are thousands of people trying to do the same, in the same spaces? Once you get people to visit your social profiles, how do you keep them coming back?

My solution was: socks. No, it’s not an acronym. It doesn’t come from an obscure definition buried deep in some dusty reference book, either. I’m talking about the cotton things you wear between your shoes and your feet.

Still not with me? Read on.

The “sock thing” started as a happy coincidence, more or less, but it ultimately confirmed much of what I believe about marketing. I’ve long enjoyed wearing wild, vibrant socks, and I would show my latest pair off at speaking engagements on occasion or simply sit with my feet up where people could see them.

After one such engagement 10+ years ago, Sandy Jenney, a blogger friend whom I like and respect, asked to take a photo of me and my socks, and I was happy to oblige. She posted the photo to Twitter, as did I, then went about my business.

When I returned to Twitter, my feed was jumping—people loved the socks, especially the bloggers attending the conference and those following the conference via social media. They were sending me pictures of their crazy socks. They asked where I found mine and offered sock-shopping tips for when I visited their city. The next day rolled around, and my socks were still a hot topic. Yesterday’s socks were great, but what pair is Ted wearing today?

Up until the pandemic (and yes, I am starting to post them again), my social connections got a little worried when I hadn’t posted a sock picture in a few days (#tedsockie), and I’m as likely to be asked about my socks by a CMO or CEO as I am by an online acquaintance. Most people are willing, or even anxious, to join in on a sock photo—my socked feet next to theirs—and let me share it with the sock-loving public.

More than ever, your brand is what your consumer thinks your brand is, and your social presence informs the consumer’s opinion in a major way. That’s true for both personal and business brands. I’ve long believed that effective marketing is all about building relationships—connect with people on a meaningful level, and the possibilities are limitless.

The trick is finding a way to engage people, including those who connect vicariously by following your stuff closely without necessarily jumping into the conversation. I’m often approached at conferences or speaking engagements by people who know me, even though we’ve never met. The cool thing is, they’re totally comfortable asking me about vacation pictures, socks and anything else I’ve shared on social channels.

Still … socks? (https://instagram.com/explore/tags/tedsockie/)

You might never have guessed that socks could be a great relationship-building tool, but that’s the point. I enjoyed my funky socks long before they became a daily topic of conversation on social. The fun that I have had with the whole thing comes from a genuine place. People are able to sense that and engage on a personal level.

Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. Show people what you do best and enjoy most, and they will enjoy it with you. Even if they don’t share your interest in a particular topic or hobby, they’ll be drawn to your passion for it.

In a world of carefully scrubbed corporate social posts, simply showing your creative, human side has serious value. After that, building relationships and growing your brand comes naturally. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to pick out tomorrow’s pair of socks.

Alexandra Varodi

Social Media Manager – Flipsnack


I can’t help but be nostalgic and bring to mind the early days of social media when engagement rates were higher, and it was so easy to interact with your favorite brands. A memorable moment was in 2012 when I posted a video on Instagram of me and my friend listening to a song on the radio (stories were not available yet).

In the caption, we hashtagged the name of the band whose music we heard, and their official account liked our video and even left a comment. We were so excited!

Shane Barker

Founder & CEO


I simply can not forget when in 2019, Instagram started testing the removal of the likes counter and the lessons learned from it. 

As one of the largest social media platforms, Instagram had concerns about the mental well-being of its users and how its app played a role in it. 

What was most interesting, though, was that after 2 years of researching whether simply removing the like counter from public view works, Instagram concluded it had very little effect.

Marji J. Sherman

CEO – The MJS Brand


One of my favorite experiences was creating the first financial industry Instagram campaign for my client, Capital One. We worked with photography influencers across the country who used their distinct artistry to create beautiful pictures of people sharing intimate stories about what was in their wallets.

Instagram was not sure how the financial industry would translate to a visual-based platform, and we were able to prove that even regulated, less flashy industries could make an impact on Instagram.

Capital One’s campaign changed the course of my career as I began to focus on clients in regulated industries, finding creative ways for them to use newer social media platforms to effectively reach their goals.

Keri Jaehnig

Founder & CEO – Idea Girl Media


You want me to pick just one? Impossible! 

We all have stories of re-connecting with friends from high school. That’s fun and refreshes memories. But for me, social media has paved the way for something extraordinary, I think… 

In my previous career, I was designated by the US Department of State to facilitate year-long intercultural educational experiences in the United States for future leaders of Eurasia and the Middle East — very special programs. When individuals from some former-Soviet (Eurasian) countries would return to their home countries, we would lose complete contact with them. At the time Facebook opened up to a more general public, society and social media had evolved to a point that it allowed me to connect with some of my amazing friends again and learn how they are what they had accomplished since we last spoke. It’s been quite profound. 

Related to my niche, it was exciting to connect with my peers and lead a panel discussion on Challenges of Urban vs. Rural Marketing at MARsum 2021 in Las Vegas, where I also received an award for my work in social media marketing. It was also meaningful and memorable meeting friends and colleagues I’d known online for years at Social Media Lima Week 2017. A very well-done yearly conference in Lima, Ohio, I was part of a panel discussion on social media trends and led a pull-out discussion on Facebook Marketing. If you have not attended in previous years, 2023 looks amazing! An industry centered online, it is terrific to be in-person, face-to-face. 

Also, I must say I look forward to Hot In Social Media’s yearly tips and trends posts. They are always excellent compilations with stellar panels of pros, and it’s an honor to be included.

Neal Schaffer

Fractional CMO, PDCA Social


My most memorable experiences from the last 10 years of social media are all O2O ones. In other words, meeting people in the Online world and then engaging with them Offline.

Whether it is developing online relationships in-person at marketing conferences or helping customers that I first met in social media, social media is and continues to be the golden land of opportunity!

Ingrid Kibler

Head of Global Social Media – Trend Micro


The introduction of live streaming on social media. While some platforms like YouTube had experimented with it more than 10 years ago, the launch of Periscope popularized live streaming from smartphones, which revolutionized how brands market and communicate.

I remember Periscope launching at SXSW in 2015 and knew this was a game changer.

Lilach Bullock

Founder & CEO


It’s hard to choose just one! I’ve met so many amazing people through social media, it’s been a fantastic experience from start to finish. If I had to choose one that was both memorable and unexpected, it would be when I was named in Forbes’ Top 20 most powerful social media influencers.

It’s an enviable position, and I was surprised but delighted to be included on the list! 

Jeff Korhan

Digital Marketing Speaker, Author and Founder – Landscape Digital Institute


My most memorable experiences with social media are the conversations that resulted in friendships and business relationships that have endured to this day. Many of them were formed in the early days of Twitter when the platform was more intimate and part of most marketers’ daily lives.

Times have changed, but thanks to the camaraderie we enjoyed back then, I’m usually willing to give emerging channels a try to find that spark again.

Timothy Hughes

CEO and Co-founder – DLA Ignite


Social media is just that. It’s being social on media and the number one, well I’m going to cheat that are actually many memorable experiences, which are the friendships I’ve created. Some people I have never met, but we still have great friendships. Others, I have made time when I have been travelling and we have made time to meet up.

Some of these relationships have led to business, others have not and that’s the point, social media is as Thomas Power said “community before commerce”. These friendships means we have supported each other, through good times and bad times, but the community stands strong.

Stephanie Nelson

SEO & Social Media Maven – SBN Marketing


This is likely to sound clichĂ©, but just watching the amount of change we’ve had in social media over the last 10 years has been incredible. Pay-to-play became a thing (or more of a thing) across all platforms. Facebook bought Instagram and launched its metaverse. Vine was launched…and shuttered. We saw the insane growth of Snapchat and TikTok (on an international scale). Twitter went from 140 characters to 280. And let’s not forget that we’re all still recovering from the Twitter meltdown of 2022, assuming we’ve actually already made it through.

That remains to be seen. I’m not even scratching the surface here, and I really cannot fathom what the next 10 years will look like!

Adina Jipa

Co-founder & CMO – Socialinsider


I wish I could name only one! 

Building Socialinsider is my most memorable experience in the last ten years. We started with a basic tool for competitor analysis, and now we are building an ecosystem for social media teams for reporting and strategic insights.

Another thing is that every successful experience with the social media managers I have met is memorable.

The simple fact that some people (whom I made friends with in the meantime) say, “I’ve heard about you” or “Oh, I know your podcast. I listen to it” is memorable.

This reflects that we at Socialinsider are doing something that matters for our customers, social media managers, and other social media enthusiasts who follow us.

Shelley Grierson

Head of Marketing – Eclipse


It’s always exciting to see a campaign you are involved with trending on social media, and in recent years I’ve got a hashtag trending which was rather exciting!