Social Media didn't slow down over the festive break, if anything it sped up.
We know that the industry changes on a near daily basis, we know it can be quite difficult to keep up with everything across all major platforms. So just for you, we’ve collated the best news from last month’s festivities – have a read and let us know your thoughts below!
What's happening at Facebook?
Group video chat was a highly-anticipated feature, said Facebook. With its introduction, Messenger users can now have video conversations with up to 50 people – but a maximum of six will appear on-screen during the conference. Just as on Skype, participants can choose to be on camera or tune in with just the audio.
The first Live 360 video was published this month on NatGeo. It consisted of a tour of the Mars Desert Research Station, a Martian habitat simulator located in the Utah desert. In 2017, expect more of these immersive videos as the format will be rolled out to all Pages and users, provided they have the right equipment for it (no, not your iPhone): “We recommend using a Nokia Ozo or Freedom360 Broadcaster rig with Vahana VR for high quality experiences, or the Giroptic iO, Insta360 Nano or Ricoh Theta S for less produced moments”, said Facebook.
Facebook is working hard to please influencers with special attentions reserved for users with Verified accounts. In December, Facebook unveiled a series of new features for its Mentions app, including video mirroring, a comment moderation tool to set up a blacklist of words (as on Twitch) and a status bar with audio level, connectivity, and battery status – all this to make sure the broadcaster is fully in control.
Podcasts are coming to your News Feed! Acknowledging users who don’t feel too confident showing off their faces, Facebook announced “Live Audio” for those who want to share a message without the support of video. Live Audio is still in its testing phase with just a few select partners (the BBC is one of them) but it should be rolled out more widely in the months to come. If you thought that podcasting was a thing of the past, think again.
What's the latest over at Twitter?
Twitter is playing the catch-up game and just over two weeks after NatGeo published the first Live 360 video on Facebook, Twitter announced it would support the new format through Periscope. To start the broadcast, users would need to plug a camera into their phone:
This update went a little under the radar, but Twitter changed the display order when users search for tweets. Before, search results would be sorted chronologically whereas now the most relevant tweets will rank at the top. It is yet another step to improve user experience, but one that probably won’t be enough to draw in millions of new users.
Twitter’s future has been uncertain for quite some time and while Jack Dorsey has been nominated CEO of the year 2016 by the Marshall College Fund, a new wave of top executives departed the company this month. As a result, Twitter’s stock price plunged to a low of $16.50 and lost 12% of its value in just a week. Here’s hoping 2017 bring a silver lining for Dorsey and co.
Jack Dorsey hosted a spontaneous Q&A session to ask users what they would like to see created or improved on Twitter in 2017. Overwhelmingly, the possibility to edit tweets ranks high on Dorsey’s to-do-list but according to him, it’s a lot of work on the backend. It could cause issues too: imagine a user edits a tweet weeks later and you retweeted it – it could look like you’re endorsing something completely different than the original tweet. However, @jack seemed quite open to the idea and said this:
By the sound of it, it seems as though we’ll be able to edit our tweets soon!
What's the latest at Instagram?
Instagram takes online harassment very seriously and revealed this month its third round of safety features in Q4. Users have been given more control with the introduction of comment liking and the ability to turn off comments or remove followers for users with private accounts. In the past, a series of celebrities have notoriously shut down their accounts following online abuse, so hopefully the new update will avoid this situation which in the past resulted in negative press coverage for Instagram.
The US market are usually the first to be given access to new features. Instagram Live was no different and rolled out to users based in the US in the middle of December. If you’re living elsewhere, be patient – Instagram said your wait should be no longer than a few weeks.
Until very recently, Instagram seemed content with copying Snapchat. But now, it looks like it is ready to distinguish itself by outpacing its rival for innovation. After implementing stickers in Stories, Instagram has moved away from the traditional “press and hold to record” and launched a “hands-free” mode to replace it. Now, you can start the record with just one tap - swipe right to “Hands-free” in Stories to try it.
What's the latest from Snapchat?
In 2016, Facebook has openly copied Snapchat on a number of features but Evan Spiegel and his company are gearing up for the future with the acquisition of Augmented Reality start-up Cimagine. Going forward, it looks like Snapchat will push AR more on its platforms but it’s also a good operation for talent acquisition as the four Cimagine founders are renowned experts in image processing and computer vision. This is the 5th acquisition in 2016 from Snapchat and one that reportedly cost between $30 and $40 million.
The long-awaited group messaging option is finally available to all Snapchat users. Up to 16 users can join a group and just like regular messages, the ones shared in groups will be available for 24 hours only.
What's new at LinkedIn?
Ever wondered why political posts never make it to LinkedIn? Because users draw the line themselves, says LinkedIn’s Editor Daniel Roth: “When you write or share or comment on LinkedIn, your boss sees it, your employees see it, your future business partners see it”, so users are more mindful of what they share on LinkedIn versus when they are on Facebook.
What's hot at Pinterest?
With the new profile, businesses will be able to add a “showcase” section so that brands can exhibit their top products in an eye-catching carousel. Two new tabs have also been added, so that users can browse a profile by Boards or Pins. Have a look at Burberry’s account to see what the new profile looks like.
With over 13 billion food pins, Pinterest is paradise for any food lover. With the wealth of data that the company possesses, it is able to draw predictions as to which food will be trending over 2017. So what’s on the menu then? To name but a few: Jackfruit, veggie crisps, octopus and craft beers. Separately, of course.
Other things you may find interesting from the past month...
The end of the year is the ideal moment to look back and reflect on everything that unfolded in 2016. On the social media landscape, Facebook notoriously copied Snapchat’s features. Not one, not twice, but multiple times. This post reviews everything that Zuckerberg has done this year to threaten Snapchat.
2016 has also been the year when we waved farewell to some iconic actors, singers and performers. David Bowie, Prince, George Michael and more recently Carrie Fisher (and many others…) sadly passed away and some brands tried to jump on the bandwagon and use these tragic events to benefit their own brand. Quite clumsily indeed. Remember: in the heat of the moment, it’s always best to hold off from tweeting if you’re in doubt.