This week saw a variety of changes on a bunch of apps and platforms. Some major, like a logo change, while others were more subtle changes. Read on to see what you need to know about the recent changes in social media.
- Reactions not really causing reactions – Since the launch of Facebook Reactions, Facebook was hoping people would drastically change how they react to posts on the platform. Turns out they aren’t. The majority of ways users interact with posts is still with the regular Like button, sharing something or commenting on it. The other Reactions only garner about 3% of total interactions. Within the possible other Reactions, the heart emoji is doing the best, but that’s not really too different from a regular like. And while Reactions seem to be used more with videos than static images, it’s still not a lot of usage overall. While these Reactions help companies and advertisers see how well or poorly their content is doing without looking through comments, if people aren’t using them will Facebook keep them around?
- Messenger is getting more bots – Facebook Messenger is planning on creating thousands more bots, which is significantly more than the initial bot launch. In review, these bots were meant to allow interaction between a user and a company. So someone could order food or check the weather, or a multitude of other functionalities. The function depended on the specific company and its bot. After the initial launch of these bots, most people were pretty underwhelmed and were thought the bots were “buggy and came off as spammy”. Hopefully this new onslaught of new bots, with more developers working on them, will allow Facebook to work out some of the kinks. If the new bots can be less spammy and function well, these could be the future of how people interact with companies.
- Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm focuses on engagement – No longer is the Newsfeed about the most recent posts of the people or companies you follow. Now the focus is on understanding what kind of content is engaging for a user and giving them more of that. Now if you spend more time engaging with particular content, you will get more of that content on your feed. However, Facebook also wants to focus on offering more diverse sources of content. So for marketers, they will need to create more engaging content that tempts users to spend more time engaging with it. They will also have to diversify their content sources (sharing from a blog, LinkedIn, guest blog, etc) if they want to appear more often on newsfeeds.
New logo – Instagram has updated its logo! The polaroid-inspired icon has been updated to a flatter and more modern take on the camera icon, along with more emphasis on the rainbow. This was an attempt to make the icon’s look more modern, and step away from the look that has been around since the app’s inception in 2010. This update is in line with many smaller updates the app has made to the layout and feel of Instagram over the past few months. The app has been making the layout of the app more clean and simple, with more black and white, and flatter icons, in order to bring focus to the images users are actually sharing instead of the app’s layout and colors. Instagram themselves say this change is so that the app’s feel reflects its actual users and the vibe that they bring to the app. So if the community is more in line with this aesthetic, after the initial shock of the change, hopefully most users will be on board with this new logo.
The Connect tab – Twitter rolled out the Connect tab, which allows you to more easily see suggestions for who you should follow. Twitter had this functionality before, but now it’s in a easy-to-access tab so you find suggestions for followers in a more convenient manner. They’ll even tell you why they recommended you follow this person!
New functionality for videos – Periscope will be rolling out the ability to stream from drones. This functionality will be similar to how their integration with GoPro is, so it won’t be difficult to understand. Another added bonus of these changes is the ability to save videos permanently on the site. Videos will automatically be saved, and can be manually deleted afterward if people want. Periscope will also be adding the ability to search for broadcasts based off hashtags. So users can search for videos based off topics they’re interested in. All these features are rolling out in order to compete with Facebook Live, which seems to be the winner in the live-streaming game right now.
LinkedIn’s own version of Instant Articles – The ability for publishers and brands to post articles directly to the platform is coming to LinkedIn. Ever since Facebook started doing Instant Articles, it has seemed like that was the route all platforms would be taking for quickly publishing content onto social media platforms. So LinkedIn jumping on the bandwagon was pretty inevitable. What’s the bigger concern is that the focus of content creation will now be on just a few social platforms. However, this is a smart move for LinkedIn as brands start creating more content this way and paying LinkedIn to promote their content. “Ultimately, this dramatic and unstoppable move to platforms boils down to this: really good for brands that know what they’re doing, but a freaking minefield for publishers. Plan your panic accordingly.”
Launch of Desktop App – Whatsapp launched a new desktop app that connects to a user’s mobile app in order to increase access and convenience. Gaining access to an app in as many places as possible is a great way to increase the usability and convenience of an app. That’s exactly what WhatsApp has done by allowing users to access all their conversations on their desktop. They have also added desktop notifications and keyboard shortcuts to this new version. It’s also super simple to connect your mobile app to your desktop app, which is even better. Since WhatsApp’s inception, it hasn’t had a lot of ways to make money. So it will be interesting how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will look to monetize the app in the future.