Instagram Update Brings Changes in Design to Phone App and Windows 10 Users

old instagram iconWhile many of the social media platforms have been struggling with change for a while now, Instagram has recently decided that it is time for an update of their own. They released their update earlier this week giving a new look to the Instagram app. The new look caught some users by surprise, especially when Instagram further updated the look of their site for Windows 10 users as well.

 

The main change during this update is a cosmetic one rather than anything extreme in the programming itself. Instagram says that their intention is to change their site so that it focuses just on pictures rather than site design. They have reduced the look of their site to a black and white format so that there is nothing to distract from the color of the pictures themselves. The idea is to make the eye automatically focus on what Instagram is all about: the pictures.

 

Along with the change to the background display, Instagram has made a big change with the logo that goes with this app. The logo has been changed from the look of the old fashioned camera and now features a rainbow background with the camera outline in white. The new logo was the most controversial move out of everything about the new update.

 

Already many customers are starting to complain about the new icon and want to go back to the old one. Instagram decided to make the change in their logo to make something that would be more universal than the old camera look. The stencil look of the app also fits better with the look of similar apps that are designed by the same company. This has not stopped many users seeking solutions so that they can change the logo back.

 

Overall this rather minor update is just one way that Instagram is working to remain competitive in photo sharing. The app will allow customers to use it in the exact same way while focusing much more on the photos than any other aspect of the website. It’ll be interesting to see what future updates might bring.

Facebook Looking to Launch a Feature Supporting 360 Degree Photos

panoramic pictureOne of the strange problems that many have after taking a panoramic photo is that there is no real way for you to share this kind of a photo with your friends. Panoramic photos typically turn into long drawn out lines of picture that are too small to look at easily on social media sites. Facebook is seeking to remedy this problem by providing a space for 360 degree photos.

 

Facebook recently announced that in the coming weeks Facebook users will be able to start sharing panoramic shots in a way that will actually allow people to interact with them more meaningfully. The plan is to offer something that will allow you to click and scroll around the photo much like Google Street View or if you are on a mobile device you’ll be able to use the phone like a viewfinder turning it to see more.

 

Many are saying that the reason that Facebook is launching this system is that they have to build content that can be used with new virtual reality software. Already several companies are developing different software that can make it so that a person can view a space as if it were all around them. The new feature would also target those using new devices that are built to specialize in panoramic photos.

 

The new feature will certainly benefit Facebook because it will help to provide content that will be viewable by their new Oculus device which is an early leader in virtual reality. It will also help them to flesh out their goal of becoming a place where users can come to explore the world around them in new and unique ways.

 

This new feature will be a wonderful new way for users to connect with one another. Now when a person is at a beach or enjoying vacation in a foreign country, they will be able to snap a panoramic photo and actually share it with their friends in a way that allows them to really experience the place rather than having to squint at a tiny elongated picture. Users will be able to see places that their friends are at in a way that is really meaningful.

Twitter Connects Users in a Totally New Way

Twitter followAs Twitter continues to update its site hoping to attract more users, it has announced yet another update. Twitter has decided to add a tab to their Twitter app to make it so that users can find accounts that they may be interested in following. Twitter has had recommendations in the past, but the algorithm used for this was not very sophisticated.

 

Twitter’s new tab is simply called “Connect” which makes it clear what the tab is all about. Users who visit this tab will find a list of different users that they are recommended to follow. Twitter says this part of the app will use information on what people have liked and followed in the past as well as what others in their location have enjoyed to make it so that they are able to find accounts that are actually more relevant to users.

 

The new tab replaces the “find friends” tab that previously existed on the app. The goal of this new tab is to provide better suggestions than the ones that people were getting in the past. In addition to just looking at what you’ve shown interest in, this new algorithm will suggest accounts based on current world events. This will help keep suggestions relevant to the individual user and to the time when a person is looking for new accounts to follow.

 

The new tab also utilizes a cell phone specific source of information to decide what a person might be interested in seeing: their contact list. The algorithm will access the address and phone book in a cell phone to find out who people are interested in connecting with. This will make it so that users are automatically notified if a friend from their phone book joins Twitter or has a Twitter page that they are not yet following. The app lets you know why it suggested different people adding further sophistication to the process of connecting individuals.

 

Twitter has added this change as a part of many other updates that are coming in the next few months. Twitter’s goal is to prevent further drops in their user base, especially after seeing a recent decline in total tweets as well as new user growth. They are hoping to cater to a range of people by making Twitter more functional on many different levels. The new Connect tab is just one way that they envision making the website a lot more attractive to new users and especially those on cell phone platforms.

Twitter Revenue Fails to Meet Expectations

falling stock priceSince the beginning of this year, Twitter has made tons of changes to help increase the amount of users that they have on their website. So far these changes don’t seem to be making too much of a difference when it actually comes to the success of Twitter. While users coming to the site continue to go up in number slowly, their ad revenue has begun to come in far under their expected growth.

 

Stock holders are asking how Twitter plans to fix this problem since they are the ones suffer if the revenue continues to go down in the next quarter. Twitter’s response has been working on changing their ads from static text and photo ads to ones that will feature video instead. These ads can be sold at a higher price and will be more attractive to users especially those viewing Twitter on mobile platforms.

 

The problem with this is that adding video ads will make it so that their standard advertisements will not work as well. All of the video ads will distract away from the traditional sponsored tweets that many businesses have used to advertise in the past. These tweets only feature pictures and text and only show up in the users feed. They don’t have the ability to grab users’ attention as other ads can. Since Twitter added video many businesses have been going away from these ads anyway because of their decreased value comparatively.

 

If the drop in revenue is due at least partially to the decreasing value of this type of an advertisement, the hope will be that the revenue will return as Twitter adds more video elements to its social media network. With the upcoming Thursday night football games and the addition of a great deal of video content there will be more space on Twitter for this type of add. Hopefully, these changes to Twitter will help it drive up revenue in the future.

Facebook Makes Another Change to the News Feed

Facebook news feedFor a long time, Facebook has been working on perfecting the News Feed that is the heart of their website. They are set on making sure that each user has items on their News Feed that are items they will actually be interested in since this of course makes them less likely to leave the website. Facebook has made many changes to this feed over the years, so it is no surprise that they are working on another one.

 

One of the goals that Facebook has when it comes to their News Feed is making it so that people are able to see relevant articles and videos that they will be interested in. This means eliminating clickbait and content that attempts to be relevant, but then turns out to be something different. The only way for Facebook to judge how interesting a link is to these people is to take a look at how long they are on the link after they have clicked on it. If a user clicks on something and returns right away, this means the link was not a quality one.

 

While Facebook in the past has monitored how quickly users click back to Facebook, they have not previously taken into account the length of time they remain on a link beyond a few seconds. They now plan to change the way that their algorithm works to look at the time spent on each link. To ensure that longer articles won’t necessarily benefit unfairly, they will limit this to a specific range of time that a link must pass to be considered interesting.  Facebook hopes that this will help them to identify quality content and put more of this at the top of their News Feed.

 

At the same time, Facebook is working on another change that will ensure that Users are not just seeing a whole bunch of different posts from a single source. They will be adding a piece to the algorithm to ensure that diverse posts appear back to back rather than having many from the same user appearing one after the other.

 

The changes to the algorithm should benefit users overall. It should not affect businesses that are using Facebook responsibly and providing quality content in their links. As long as a business or other user makes posts at a variety of different times they will still have a good chance of having other users see everything that they post as long as what they post is relevant to these users.

Facebook’s New Chatbots Seek to Connect Customers and Businesses

social chatThis week, Facebook announced the launch of their new Chatbots among many other features that they are expecting to bring out in the future. The idea of these Chatbots is that they would be convenient ways for people to access information on Facebook in the way that Siri helps people using Apple devices. This would also allow the spread of customer service from different companies without having to use real employees.

 

The Chatbot feature is new to Facebook although many other websites have been using these for a variety of different functions. Facebook’s plan is to actually use these bots to communicate with Facebook users and make things easier. Facebook users can ask bots about the weather and for information on different things. For example, the Chatbot for CNN’s Facebook page would be able to pull up specific articles that users might be interested in seeing.

 

While the idea is good, these Chatbots still have a long way to go. Users have complained about these buggy bots citing problems with making them understand anything that they are asking. In many cases, people have been having a lot of difficulty communicating their needs in words that the bots can actually understand. The answers that bots give seem to be fairly unnatural as well.

 

The eventual goal would be that these bots would be unidentifiable as bots so that companies could use them for general customer service needs. Already, people can use these bots to make purchases and complete orders. This can save companies money in the long run since they won’t have to waste a real customer service agent’s time with simple questions. The bots could easily answer simple customer service questions once they learn a little more about human language.

 

Before anything more happens with these bots, they’re going to need a bit more development. Hopefully as the bots learn and start to echo normal conversation better, they will be able to interact on a much different level. Facebook will be working on their Chatbots in the future to make these bots into a convenient way of getting the service you need.

Twitter to Bring Live NFL Games to Social Media

iePlexus blog 1 4-07-16With all of the recent problems that we have been hearing about Twitter’s social media platform, it came as a huge surprise that the NFL chose them over Facebook, Amazon, Verizon, and Yahoo to host Thursday night football games live. This new deal suggests a huge advantage for Twitter’s live streaming future just when it was looking like Facebook might dominate this specific area of social media. It leaves many people wondering what is next for Twitter.

 

One of the main things that people initially wondered was how Twitter outbid their competitors to secure this deal. The truth is that they didn’t. While Twitter was not the highest bidder, the NFL claims it decided to go with this platform because of its experience with live video.  There are certainly different features such as Twitter’s moments and Periscope that could make the experience more interesting. Facebook would be the only other site to have somewhat similar features and they backed out of the bidding after seeing the advertising agreement that came with the contract.

 

Twitter is hoping that this deal will be a big boost for them because of the popularity of the NFL. Streaming these games on Twitter will be a big benefit for those people who have dropped their cable plans and rely completely on streaming for all of their TV content.  With the new deal in place Twitter would be able to establish a new identity and attract new users.

 

While many are looking at the new deal as a great thing, others are pointing out possible flaws in the plan. Since Twitter has always been a great place for live interaction on a secondary screen during live events, streaming and tweeting on the same device seems like a problem. If Twitter is expecting users to look at the live stream, then how will they interact live on their own Twitter pages? This is a question that Twitter has yet to answer.

 

Others are wondering about the deal itself and whether the games will even be worth what Twitter paid for them. The only thing that the NFL is giving to Twitter is Thursday night games, which notoriously feature the worst matchups out of any of the NFL games. Those fans who want to watch these games are unlikely to be the kind of people who are dropping their cable subscriptions. Some wonder about the value of this type of deal at all and whether the NFL just made this partnership in order to wield a greater influence over Twitter.

Instagram Faces Backlash From Users After Announcing New Changes

instagram appInstagram is doing what it can to catch up to others and better compete within the world of social media. There have been some pretty substantial changes with social media sites as a whole over the first quarter of the year so far. Instagram is the next site announcing substantial changes to its website which focuses on distributing small bits of visual content including short videos and pictures.

 

The main change that is going to be hitting Instagram users after a few weeks or months of testing is a complete overhaul of the way that posts display within the Instagram App. Instead of the chronological order that Instagram has been using since it started, they are now going to change to a smarter listing allowing users to see posts that they may have a greater amount of interest in. This would be similar to the Top News setting that Facebook uses.

 

Instagram users have been worrying about the change since they heard about it, concerned that Instagram will use their new algorithm to alienate specific accounts and make some posts less visible to users. Many of those worrying about these changes are companies and celebrities that have used Instagram as free advertising. Instagram has been receiving a great deal of backlash from some of these users who seem worried about what this will do to the way their posts are seen. Many of these users have taken to Instagram asking other users to turn on their notifications if they wish to see their posts.

 

Although some users are concerned that they will lose their ability to advertise for free as they did when Facebook altered its algorithm and asked that people who wanted more visibility paid to sponsor their posts, there is no proof that this will be happening again on Instagram. They claim that the algorithm is only intended to show people the content that they want to see including content that they see from businesses they like. Brands and big name users are still concerned that the new changes may mean they’ll eventually be effected after experiencing the same problems in the past.

Twitter Stickers May Be the Next Change to the Twitter Platform

social mediaOver the ten years that Twitter has been in business, there have been a wide range of changes that have completely transformed the social media site. The latest feature that Twitter is testing is a stickers feature that will allow customers to add cartoon images over the top of pictures before posting them. This new feature is just one more way that Twitter is turning their social media platform into a site with more visual components.

 

This newest feature, if released, would follow several other features that Twitter has released in its attempt to make the Twitter world a bit more visual. Previous features have allowed users to add videos to their tweets and even introduced live streaming. The new feature suggests that Twitter is searching for a way to make standard pictures on Twitter into something that is more exciting. It seems all of the recent changes are focused around the idea of creating a new version of Twitter that will attract a greater number of users.

 

The new stickers feature would introduce a feature previously extended only to celebrities through the secret Twitter Camera app. The feature mirrors ones available on other social media sites such as Facebook which allow customers to add cartoon images over standard pictures.  This would allow users to add cute or funny elements to the different pictures that they posted. While the feature is in the early testing stages, it is likely to become a permanent feature to the social media website.

 

To differentiate this feature from similar ones, Twitter has plans to add a social element. The idea would be to display the way that other users have decorated a popular picture and to suggest pictures for users to decorate. Decorating trending pictures would allow users to share opinions and interact in an entirely new way. Twitter’s unique twist on a standard feature could help to make it more competitive with other social media sites.

Twitter Transfers All Users to Their Algorithmic Feed Automatically

social mediaWhen Twitter recently started testing a new way of organizing the way that users see tweets, they received instant backlash from many Twitter users who were not interested in seeing a change. Many of these people were pleased by Twitter’s early requirement to opt into the new system. They were dismayed to discover when Twitter began slowly shifting all users into the new way of displaying posts.

Twitter was initially requiring customers to opt in with the new way of organizing posts because they were still in the testing phase of this new system. They were working to build a way of displaying posts that were not in reverse chronological order and instead in order of what a user might find most interesting or more important. The idea was to make Twitter more attractive for users who only came on the site infrequently. They would be able to more easily see what important news they had missed, instead of being informed only of the most recent information.

Twitter isn’t the only social media site shifting its formatting from displaying posts chronologically to shifting posts to the most relevant and interesting. In the past, other social media sites have offered different ways of displaying posts. Facebook has had top posts and most recent as options for displaying your news feed for a long time. Instagram has recently announced that they will also be switching.

For those who are annoyed with the new change on Twitter, the good news is that the change is not required. Anyone who wishes to have their feed go back to the chronological display, simply has to change a setting within their account. In most cases, Twitter is notifying users of the switch and giving the option to change their settings right away. This means that those who want the new organization can have it while those who prefer the traditional display can stick with this.