The Arab Spring, the catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the Royal Wedding and the death of Steve Jobs are just a handful of monumental events that make 2011 one of the most epic years in the new Millennium. 2011 was a year of social, political and economic change like no other and there is no way to predict whether or not 2012 will top it, but there are a few things we can look forward too.
Here is a list of 12 things to expect in 2012:

The Arab Spring, the catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the Royal Wedding and the death of Steve Jobs are just a handful of monumental events that make 2011 one of the most epic years of the new Millennium. 2011 was a year of social, political and economic change like no other and there is no way to predict whether or not 2012 will top it, but there are a few things we can look forward to.

Here is a list of 12 things to expect in 2012:

1. The Academy Awards (February 26)
Just a few months into preparation and this year’s Oscar ceremony is already flushed with controversy. At the premiere of his film Tower Heist, director Brett Ratner uttered a homophobic slur and after a slew of complaints from gay activists, he resigned as producer for the awards ceremony. In a show of camaraderie, host Eddie Murphy, star of Tower Heist, resigned as well. The Academy’s favorite Billy Crystal has replaced Murphy as host.

2. Facebook might go public (April – June)
Rumors about Facebook going public began after a report in the Wall Street Journal stated it was scheduled to go public in the second quarter of 2012. Initial estimates suggest that the IPO could raise the total estimated valuation of the company to a whopping $100 billion. Many have speculated that the changes and effects of the IPO will have the company causing more harm than good but only time will tell the future of Facebook.

3. Facebook will surpass 1 billion users
Even despite the fact that Facebook is constantly dealing with the site’s privacy settings, the massive social networking site still pulls in users. According to Facebook’s own statistics, they currently have 800 million active users and growing. With its potential IPO this year, Facebook will surely become an even more powerful global company.

4. London Olympics (July 27-August 12)
Come July, the world’s greatest sporting event will begin. Athletes from more than 200 countries will descend on the British Isle for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, all fighting for a chance at gold for their countries. With this event, London will become the first city to have hosted the Olympics three times in modern times.

5. UEFA Euro Cup (June 8-July 1)
It might not be as big or as popular as the World Cup or the Olympics but it is still a major sporting event around the world. The Euro Cup showcases some of the world’s best soccer talent including the likes of Spain’s David Villa, and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

6. U.S. election (November 6)
With its offbeat cast of characters and outrageous assertions, the race to nominate a Republican candidate for the 2012 U.S. presidential contest has been profusely entertaining. Polls suggest that Americans are largely dissatisfied with Barack Obama’s efforts to lift the economy. Will they grant him a second chance, or oust him in favor of a tough-talking newbie?

7 .The power of social media in political campaigns
We can safely say that social media will be non-negotiable when it comes to the upcoming elections and future ones. It all started around the time of Obama’s Presidential Campaign, when he swooped the 2008 US Presidential Election with an incredibly powerful social media campaign. Nowadays it seems as if every public figure has their own Facebook and Twitter account to keep the people informed – including our President.

8. News will be even more social
News coverage in the 21st century is rapidly changing; many top stories of 2011 broke on social media sites. The Arab Spring began with a single tweet and the first word of Bin Laden’s death broke on Twitter, later to be picked up by the mainstream media. A majority of people get their news on social media sites, so a large number of news outlets now have Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep people updated. This will only increase in 2012 and more people will want to voice their opinion.

9. Google + will expand its wings
Google is kicking into high gear to earn a dominant position in the social network business and might finally be close to hitting some momentum. There are two things that could contribute to putting Google+ on the map in 2012: Google Ripples and free voice calls in G+ Hangouts. Google+ has already gained 400 million users in a few short months since its release and it will only continue to grow.

10. Mobile social media usage will grow
With the increased number of smartphones, the availability of the iPhone in Verizon Stores, and iPads, Nooks, ebooks & Tablets becoming more known and popular, mobile social media usage has exploded. If you’re not using your social media mobile in 2012, you might as well be living under a rock.

11. The final Twilight movie (November 8 )
The long awaited vampires vs. werewolves war will come to an end, once and for all. We can all live happily in a world free of Team Jacob or Team Edward debates. Need I say more?

12. The end of the world (December 21)
Many groups and cultures have prophesied the end of the world, but the Mayan prediction seems to hold the most popular interest. December 21, 2012 marks the conclusion of a significant period in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, and is thus thought to herald the end of life as we know it. Some observers tell us to expect a spiritual transformation rather than Armageddon, while Mayan scholars tell us to expect business as usual, claiming the Mayans never made any claims about the apocalypse. Whew!

What are you expecting in 2012?