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2022 year in review: Top business topics

The business world saw changes in 2022. Themes -- such as the rise and fall of cryptocurrency, changes to social media and navigating employment -- are all included in this review.

Reviewing 2022, there were several themes that emerged in the business world.

The top stories of 2022 can be categorized into themes that highlighted how businesses can reduce their impact on the environment, the rise and fall of some cryptocurrencies, employees navigating their jobs, increasing use of the metaverse and changes in social media platforms.

To highlight and explain these themes, here are some of the top definitions and terms from TechTarget that define the year.

1. Business sustainability

Consumers and investors are considering a company's effects on the environment, making business sustainability critical for organizations to compete. Technology is adapting to the needs of the planet and helping businesses limit their impact on the environment. Business sustainability is the management of these environmental efforts, along with other initiatives, such as social and financial demands.

Here are some terms and definitions relating to business sustainability:

  • ESG. Environmental, social and governance is a term that describes a company's interests and practices that focus on their ethical and sustainability impacts. ESG shows a company's accountability and impact, providing guidelines for markets and investors to help measure financial performance.
  • Green data center. A data center uses large amounts of energy and can have a big effect on the environment. A green data center stores, manages and distributes data by using systems designed to maximize energy efficiency and limit its impact on the environment.
  • Green IT. Green information technology is a broad term that describes using sustainable and environmentally friendly computing to limit IT operations' effects on the environment. Green technology includes reducing hazardous materials used in computer products, maximizing energy efficiency in the products and creating biodegradable or recyclable parts.
  • Green software. Developers work to engineer and create green software, which limits energy consumption and environmental effects. Green software design considers hardware and data center designs, networking requirements, necessary electricity and carbon emissions.
  • Greenwashing. Greenwashing is when a company makes false or misleading claims about the positive environmental effects of the company, its products or its services. The green claim highlights some elements of truth but not the product's whole effect.

2. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency had a whirlwind of a year with ups and downs. The fall of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange is still under investigation. And, with the fluctuating price of cryptocurrency, people question how it is valued.

Cryptocurrency also comes with security concerns, so storage and mining are top of mind. Here are some definitions relating to cryptocurrency:

  • Blockchain. Blockchain is a distributed ledger that monitors cryptocurrency transactions. Blockchain stores data in blocks that are chained together instead of the typical rows and columns of normal databases. Blockchain uses a peer-to-peer network instead of a central computer to maintain a copy of the ledger to avoid a single point of failure.
  • Cryptojacking. A form of cybercrime, cryptojacking involves using other parties' computing resources for mining cryptocurrency. Miners use this malicious attack to avoid paying for mining resources, such as hardware and electricity, which can be expensive.
  • Crypto wallet. A crypto wallet is a type of hardware or software that lets users store and use cryptocurrency -- similar to a bank account. With a crypto wallet, users can send and receive transactions to and from other users or businesses.
  • Proof of stake. Proof of stake is one method of adding new cryptocurrency transactions to the blockchain. Ethereum recently adopted this method. Using the proof of stake method, miners pledge an investment of digital currency to validate, so miners put up stake with their own coins. Then, using an algorithm, the choice of who gets to validate the transaction is random based on the amount of stake and validation experience.
  • Smart contract. A smart contract is a decentralized execution to exchange money and services, provide delivery, unlock protected content or perform other data manipulation, such as changing a name or ownership. Smart contracts are stored on the blockchain and automate the execution of an agreement between participants, including cryptocurrency exchanges.

3. Great Resignation

Many people started working remotely at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually began to question their work-life balance. Then came the Great Resignation, where record numbers of people quit their jobs to change careers.

The Great Resignation brought a revolution in the way people work. Here are some business terms that are more relevant today because of it:

  • Digital workspace. With more people working from home, a digital workspace helps centrally control and manage IT programs, such as applications, files and OSes. A digital workspace gives users access to these applications, whether they are on-site or remote, by using the cloud.
  • Employee engagement. Employee engagement describes the emotional connection people feel for their job, company and team. If employees feel connected to the organization, they are typically more motivated and satisfied with their job and company. Companies that have engaged employees are typically more profitable and have better customer service.
  • Employee experience. Employee experience describes people's perception of the company they work for, starting with the application process all the way through their exit. Important components of the employee experience include culture, workspace, technology and a sense of trust in the organization.
  • Hybrid work model. A hybrid work model describes a structure that includes employees working on-site and remotely. Hybrid work models have employees work in a company's facilities at least part of the time -- for example, working in the office two days a week and working remotely the other three days.
  • Quiet quitting. Quiet quitting became a popular term in 2022 for employees limiting their tasks to those in their job descriptions. People didn't quit their jobs but wanted to avoid working long hours. Quiet quitting is a rejection of hustle culture, along with going above and beyond to meet the "work is life" mentality.

4. Metaverse

A virtual world where people can interact, live, shop and learn together describes the metaverse. This takes the internet to the next level, with a 3D virtual realm that mixes real life and digital identities.

Businesses are exploring the metaverse for ways to connect employees. Here are some popular definitions relating to the metaverse:

  • Digital twin. A digital twin virtually represents a physical object, such as a wind turbine, jet, building or larger entity, such as an entire city. Digital twins can also mimic a service process and collect predictive data to analyze its performance.
  • NFT. A non-fungible token is a unique asset with an identifying code on the blockchain that authenticates ownership. NFTs can be items such as cartoons, trading cards, virtual real estate, images and video clips. Because they are virtual and unique, NFTs are available in the metaverse as collectors' items.
  • Spatial computing. Spatial computing is an umbrella term that describes tools and processes for computers to interact, retain and manipulate data for 3D objects and spaces. Components of spatial computing include digital twins, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality and physical controls to practice movements such as jumping, gestures and speech.
  • VR. Virtual reality is a 3D environment simulated for users to interact and explore in a digital space that replicates reality. The user wears devices such as goggles and helmets to interact with a virtual environment using their senses, blocking out their physical surroundings.
  • Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is the latest generation of web technology that continues to evolve. It is the foundational layer of how the internet is used for website and application services. Web 3.0 differs from other versions with a stronger emphasis on decentralized applications and the increased use of blockchain technologies, machine learning and AI to make it more interactive and adaptable.

Learn about marketing in the metaverse.

5. Social media

Social media is constantly changing. Around 59% of the global population uses social media, and average daily usage is two hours and 29 minutes, according to a Smart Insights report. When Elon Musk acquired Twitter in 2022, other platforms emerged as people looked for alternatives.

Disinformation can spread quickly on social media, and companies use content moderation to prevent the spread of this wrong information, hate speech and other forms of harassment. Russia even went as far as to block information for its residents and banned social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so they could control information its residents read.

Here are some relevant social media terms:

  • Deepfakes. A deepfake uses AI to create a misleading video or image that appears realistic but is a hoax. It can be used to spread false information by using a trusted source that appears to deliver the message -- for example, with election propaganda using celebrities or other high-profile people giving endorsements.
  • Digital wellness. Because many workers rely on electronic devices and are connected online, digital wellness focuses on promoting healthy use and assists with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as helping employees avoid overusing social media.
  • Social media marketing. Social media marketing is a way to reach customers through social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Social media platforms can help companies connect with their audience to build a community of followers, drive traffic to a website, build awareness and increase sales.
  • Spambot. A spambot is an automated system that sends unsolicited messages known as spam. Spam is unsolicited junk that a user did not request and can include marketing messages or sales pitches. Spambots can also send spam messages to social media accounts and comment on websites.
  • Twitterbot. A Twitterbot is a software program that automatically follows Twitter users. The Twitterbot also likes and retweets posts. The purpose of a Twitterbot may be to drive post engagement to promote goods and services, or it may be malicious and spread disinformation or propaganda, as well as create false impressions on an idea or news story.

Learn more about content moderation guidelines.

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