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.

Meerkat Seeks a Place in the Social Media World After Losing the Battle for Live Streaming

iePlexus blog 1 3-09-16After creating the concept of live streaming from a cell phone to a social media network, Meerkat should be at the top of the live stream market. Unfortunately, with Facebook and Twitter recently jumping on the live streaming concept, Meerkat has become less appealing to users. Many people just don’t see the point of adding an additional social media network to live stream from.

After being heralded as the next big thing last summer, Meerkat took some serious hits to their competitive edge. Just because they were the first on the scene of live streaming, did not mean that they were able to maintain their edge when it came to competing with other streaming companies. Once Twitter purchased Periscope and turned this into their own live streaming application, Meerkat started to see problems in their own growth. Now with Facebook’s newly launched live streaming tool, they’re ready to give up on the idea of becoming a leading live streaming network.

The problem that Meerkat is currently experiencing is that their market has been flooded by products that are better and more convenient to customers. Rather than trying to continue to compete with Facebook and Twitter, the company has decided to shift their focus. The company recently announced that they will be changing their focus with the idea of making their social media network more private. They are hinting at the idea of live streaming toward more select groups of people such as friends and family members.

Businesses should pay close attention to the way that Meerkat is changing its focus as it relates to niche selection. Originally, the company was focused on a unique niche with no competition. Now as the market has been flooded to the point where they cannot compete, they have decided to further narrow their niche in an attempt to gain a unique audience. In many cases, narrowing a niche can be just what a business needs to succeed when they find that a larger niche is flooded with challenging competitors.

Apple Launches Apple Support Twitter Account to Field Questions About Products

iePlexus Blog 1 3-03-16Today, Apple joined the number of companies that are using Twitter as a way to field customer questions about products. Many companies have found that it is very useful to use Twitter as a place where questions can be asked and answered since customers seem to see this as much more convenient than having to call or email. Twitter users can ask all of their important questions to companies whose products they purchase to get answers without any hassle.

Of course, Apple hasn’t been devoid of any type of customer service account on Twitter prior to this. In the past, it has had some specific accounts that focused on Apple Music and iTunes which offered customer support for these specific Apple products. Their new account is different because it is the first time that Apple has had any kind of general customer service account where customers can ask questions about all types of Apple products.

The main benefit of such an account is of course the way that this improves Apple’s image in general. Apple has long portrayed themselves as a company that is willing to provide superior customer service. The new Twitter account helps with this by making it easier for customers to interact directly with the Apple customer service team on an easy to use platform. Customers should see this as marked increase in the level of service and support that Apple provides.

Apple began its Twitter presence with a brief welcome and a handy step by step picture slideshow that showed customers how to turn lists into checklists within the Notes app. The account has also invited customers to come forward with any questions that they might have about a variety of Apple products. The hope is to provide more tips and tutorials to make it so that customers can more easily work with the products they’ve purchased.

Other businesses should look to the way that Apple is using Twitter as a guide for what they can be doing in their own businesses. This new account shows the versatility of Twitter in the ways that it can be used by a business. Business owners don’t just have to use Twitter as a place to talk about their products, they can be like Apple and offer customer service within their Twitter pages.

Facebook’s Reactions Go Way Beyond Like

ieplexus blog 1 2-25-16For a long time, Facebook users have campaigned for completely new ways to express their feelings about a post. Many have been hoping for a long awaited dislike button so that they can express their feelings about a post without having to comment on it. This week Facebook rolled out their new reactions, which allow users to do more than just like a post.

Facebook has left the traditional like button as part of its reactions icon but when you hold down the like button on Facebook you will now see a range of new emoji reactions that can help to express how you feel about the post in a new way. For now, you can only select one of these at a time, but you can change what the reaction is after you have already picked on if you decide another is better. The top three reactions to a given post are the only ones that end up displayed but a more detailed breakdown of how people reacted to each other is available if you click to see.

After the new reactions rolled out, there were complaints about them straight away. One of the main criticisms for the new reactions is that there just aren’t enough of them. The majority of the reaction are positive with only two reactions showing negative emotion. Many people would like to have a wider selection of emotions so that they might be able to more easily describe how more complicated posts make them feel. Other complaints focused on the fact that the reactions themselves can be confusing. Some people feel that the anger reaction could be especially confusing since it is hard to say if the reaction is anger targeted at the poster or what the post is about.

Facebook has also fallen under critique from advertisers who see the new reactions as something that they could benefit from, if Facebook would just allow them access to the information. For now, Facebook is not using the reactions to differentiate between what types of advertising would be good for the customers. To advertisers this makes it seem like they are missing out since people’s opinions of different things may make it so that they respond differently to advertising.

It seems that Facebook has taken a good step toward allowing users to respond in unique new ways, but many users would like to be able to see these reactions expand even further. This step may be only a first step, but Facebook users are at least able to get a bit more control over how they are expressing themselves on Facebook. Users can keep crossing their fingers waiting for that dislike button that they’ve been waiting for.

Tumblr Struggles to Compete in the Social Media Market As Growth Falters

ieplexus blog 1 2-18-16In that battle for the social media industry, some companies are gaining users while others are having difficulties. Recent articles have highlighted Tumblr and looked at the way its numbers have lagged behind competitors. Many have speculated what Tumblr might be doing wrong and what might be able to turn things around.

Ever since Tumblr was launched in 2007, business owners and personal users have discovered the site and have used it to share images with friends or customers. While the site no doubt has its benefits, many worry that the website is not gaining users as quickly as its direct competitors. When you look at the rate in which the company has gained new users, it is easy to see that the number of new users is starting to slow significantly. This plateau signals problems for the social media website.

The clear focus of Tumblr and the owners of the company is on finding the problem and fixing it. For many, it seems that the flexibility of other websites may be part of the problem. Since Tumblr has a very limited way in which users are able to share content, it is possible that users may be less interested in this website. Tumblr is attempting to fix the potential problem by allowing users to start sharing videos and GIFs as well as adding a messaging aspect to the website.

Another problem many point to is the fact that this social media site does not cater to mobile users in the same way as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These social media sites have constructed applications that not only make the sites easy to use on a mobile phone, but actually encourage mobile users to participate and share in unique ways. Facebook extended their own mobile app recently by allowing live videos broadcasted via cell phone.

What Tumblr must do from here is find a way in which they can change the company in meaningful ways to make it more attractive. With a low number of new users currently, they should be looking at options to attract more business owners and personal users to the website to communicate in unique ways. It is possible that Tumblr, like Twitter, can expand the way that people use their social media site to help make it more relevant to a larger number of people.

Facebook Will Have to Learn from Facebook Sports Stadium Failures During the Super Bowl

ieplexus blog 1 2-11-16Facebook Sports Stadium met its first real test in making it easy to live stream important sports events last Sunday. When the Super Bowl came on, many were ready to test out the newly launched Sports Stadium portion of Facebook. These same people were soon disappointed as the new feature lagged on live updates and wasn’t able to keep up with the game at all.

When Facebook launched Sports Stadium in January, the plan was to use this feature as something that would compete well with Twitter during live events. For their first match up, Twitter emerged the clear winner since Facebook’s new feature was unable to keep up with the level of people using it. In some cases, updates were delayed by several minutes or didn’t show up at all. Some people complained, on Twitter no less, about Facebook’s problems with their Sports Stadium feature.

With the numbers in after the game, it was clear that an overwhelmingly larger number of people took to Twitter to discuss the game rather than Facebook. Numbers showed that Facebook had even lower numbers of people talking about the Super Bowl than they had the previous year dropping from 65 million people to 60 million people. From this alone, it is clear that Facebook’s Sports Stadium was underwhelming. The numbers are problematic to Facebook, especially as they try to attract advertisers for Super Bowl LI.

Despite all of the problems that Facebook’s Sports Stadium had initially, they were able to turn things around during the second half of the football game so that updates actually started flowing as they were meant to. Of course, this was too late for many of the people who had already given up in favor of Twitter as their second screen to watch for information about the game.

It is clear from the initial problems that Facebook experienced with their new feature that there are still some tweaks that need to be made to it. No doubt, they will work to repair these problems before the next big game. Hopefully, they will be able to figure out how to handle the levels of visitors heading for the site to prevent the same issues from happening again. Once the feature actually works, it will be easier to see if it can be used to beat out Twitter for live streaming.

Live Video Streaming is Facebook’s Newest Feature

ieplexus blog 1 2-03-16Facebook started the year off by adding live streaming videos as part of their application on the iPhone. This application allows users to stream what they are currently doing so that all of their Facebook friends can see it. It is similar to other applications for cell phones such as Meerkat and Pariscope, but with the advantage of actually being built into Facebook. They plan to eventually extend the video streaming portion of the application to Android users as well.

Facebook’s live streaming feature has some benefits over the previous video streaming applications just because it is built into Facebook. This automatically targets the audience for your live stream by limiting it to the privacy settings that you already have through Facebook. Unlike Twitter’s Pariscope app, there is no need for Facebook users to download any application in addition to their Facebook app to stream live videos. The really convenient feature is that these videos can be saved and put on the Facebook timeline when finished so that people can see the video later.

The live streaming feature takes Facebook to a whole new level since users are not only able to interact socially by sharing videos and posts, but by showing live events as well. This will allow people to live stream a baby’s first steps or a proposal happening in the moment. Business owners can even use these live videos to promote their businesses and interact with their network. Those who miss the live broadcast are able to find it later when they log on to Facebook. People can access it like a normal video, watching it more than once if they choose.

During the live stream, the person who streams the video will be able to see how many people are viewing the video and will be able to see comments as they are made. You can stream for just a short burst or a longer period of time through your phone. You can either use the rear facing or front facing camera to record making it easy to show anything that is going on. Friends on Facebook can interact while you film so you can answer questions live during the stream as well.

In case there was any doubt that Facebook’s new video streaming is a hit, it is clear that this has been successful purely because of rising stock prices and viral news about some of the videos that have been streamed live. Facebook has managed to create a video streaming application that competes with those from other sites because of its definite benefits over them. Although it took a while for this feature to become available, Facebook users can now discover this new way of communicating with each other.