AKRON (May 12, 2014) — We all know the social media world is fast-paced and ever-changing. It seems like, at least recently, every day some platform has announced new features that it can be hard to catch up. So my goal today is to go over some of the bigger news going on in social media. Do you want updates on other sites? Tweet me at @jenniferkarpus or email me [email protected].
Facebook: Facebook has been putting a lot of work into its apps, such as its standalone Messenger app. At the end of April it announced that Messenger now has a camera option for taking photos within the app. Note to self: the photo is taken and sent immediately. There is no edit option. You can still attach photos you have already taken as well. This is just one extra you can now do.
Facebook continues to acquire different apps to expand its reach. At the end of April, Facebook acquired Moves, a fitness tracking app. Some users are frustrated with the purchase because they enjoyed the app as is, but do not want their privacy information shared with Facebook. So far in 2014, Facebook has also purchased WhatsApp, a messaging service, and Paper, a news reader app.
The privacy issues were greatly discussed at its recent f8 conference. It looks like Facebook is trying to allow third-party app permissions to put more control in the user's hands with their personal data. One such feature is people can log in anonymously for these third-party apps so users can decide if they like the app before signing up and logging their information.
As a business, there are a few things to watch out for. Forbes wrote a great article that explained Facebook is attempting to overhaul its News Feed to tackle spamming and to control the “like-baiting” on the site — when a page specifically asks fans to like, comment or share a post so it increases visibility.
As far as Facebook ads, they are going to be bigger and mirror other News Feed items. The Forbes article said in tests these “more prominent ads have shown up to a 3x increase in engagement.”
Twitter: Twitter has launched a completely new profile layout. Although the option has been available for a few weeks, the new layout will be turned on for everyone on May 28.
What can you expect from this new profile? Many people are comparing it to Facebook: customizable headers, bigger profile pictures and three-column layout are all part of the new look. The tweets with more engagement will be larger in the feed and you will be able to pin a tweet to the top of your page, just like with Facebook.
Another new feature is receiving “real-time” notifications when people are engaging with you. For instance, if someone is tweeting to you and you are on Twitter, you will receive a live notification letting you know what is being said.
LinkedIn: Just because LinkedIn is business-driven does not mean it does not continue to evolve as well. One significant change that is coming for groups is the poll option will no longer be available come May 15. According to LinkedIn, “at LinkedIn, we aim to provide a simple and efficient experience for our members. To do this, we're continuously evaluating how our current products and features are used, and seeking new ways to focus our resources on building the best products. This sometimes results in the retirement of certain features.”
If this was a favorite feature of yours, you can still pose a question to your audience, just not in a poll form.
One update that I personally am really excited about is a partnership between LinkedIn and Evernote. Are you a person who has stacks and stacks of business cards lying around you don't know what to do with? Yeah, me too. Evernote and LinkedIn are making this work for you.
According to LinkedIn's blog post, “LinkedIn members can scan a business card using Evernote's mobile app and then directly connect with this contact on LinkedIn to maintain the new relationship. Evernote's card scanning service is fast, reliable, and literally world-class, with support for seven languages.”
SnapChat: SnapChat has become one of my favorite apps. It's so fun to send quick snaps to my friends, however, it really upped its game with this announcement. Two weeks ago, SnapChat started having a video feature and texting within the app. I know there have been times where I wanted to write a caption longer than a few words to go with my photo and now I can.
SnapChat has also recently taken heat about its claim that snaps evaporate and the Federal Trade Commission said that is not necessarily true. Not only can people take screenshots, but there are third-party apps that people can download to save the pictures.
Pinterest: At the end of April, Pinterest launched a Guided Search that helps with exploring the site for items to pin. According to the Pinterest blog, “Now when you search for something (road trips, running, summer BBQ), descriptive guides will help you sift through all the good ideas from other Pinners. Scroll through the guides and tap any that look interesting to steer your search in the right direction.”
Along with the Guided Search, Pinterest also announced custom categories and an improved related pins feature.
Google+: According to a Business Insider article, “Google is reportedly planning to dismantle its social network, Google+.”
It looks like the goal behind this is to have it as a platform, rather than a product, and instead of competing with other social media sites, it might have integration power with some of Google's other products. I plan on staying tuned to how this all develops!
Instagram: Have you checked out the Explore tab on Instagram lately? The site has changed it to have some personalization features with it.
A TechCruch article explained that there will be top photos and videos that are liked by people who you follow.
At the end of last year, Instagram launched “Instagram Direct,” which allows the user to send a photo directly to specific people instead of just posting it to the site. When a user goes to share, they can now send to followers or send direct to people.
YouTube: YouTube recently changed its layout. It posted to its blog back in February that it now “has a center-aligned look” that will fit to any screen size.
You can quickly flip between what's recommended and popular in ‘What to Watch.'
Vine: Vine switched things up this month when it revealed a change in concept to bring it a little closer to how YouTube is set up. Instead of just having registered users be able to post the clips, the site announced it is going to allow playlists, featured videos, channels, trending tags, etc. to have higher visibility for each six-second clip. Additionally, a person no longer needs an account to view the best videos shared through Vine.
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