Social Networking

Facebook Will Make Several Updates to Their Live Feature

webcam broadcastingAlthough live videos are still fairly new to Facebook, it is clear that they are an important part of where Facebook plans to go from here. Facebook recently announced several updates to their Live video feature that will make it so that people can easily use the feature for a more diverse range of broadcasts. They also hinted at the potential for adding advertisements to some of the longer live broadcasts that users have been doing.

 

One of the main changes to the Live video feature that Facebook plans on rolling out is the ability to actually schedule specific broadcasts so that different users can tune in at a specific time. This update is the result of many broadcasters having to wait around while trying to collect viewers before being able to stream. Now Facebook will allow them to schedule their broadcast and will even provide waiting lobbies where people can gather while waiting for the live stream.

 

Another addition to live streaming will be the ability to stream along with other people. This makes it so that you can have a friend come in to stream with you at any point during your broadcast, similar to how talk show hosts might invite guests to their shows. This application would allow for people to set up celebrity interviews or bring expert advice into different broadcasts that they are presenting to their friends.

 

The final update appears to be one that will put Facebook in direct competition with Snapchat. They will be adding different filters that you can use while you are broadcasting so that you are able to go live while wearing a mask, panda makeup, or a wide variety of other options. Snapchat also has filters like these, but they are mostly used for still pictures. It appears that with this specific change Facebook will be trying to compete with Snapchat by taking these filters to another level.

 

These changes to live streaming just show that Facebook is really serious about becoming a social media site that is focused much more heavily on the video aspect of social media. They are beginning to branch out when it comes to their video aspects. It will be interesting to see what new video updates develop as Facebook continues to hone this particular part of their site.

Snapchat Makes Changes to Allow It to Compete for Social Media Advertising

snapchatAs Twitter is struggling to find relevancy with today’s users, Snapchat is beginning to dominate the time that people used to spend on other social media sites. Snapchat itself has been growing in popularity since its initial launch to the point where users are averaging 24-30 minutes spent on this particular application each day. With this level of success, it is no wonder that Snapchat is starting to look for ways to profit more from the time users spend on the application.

 

After a recent update where Snapchat made many small changes to the way the stories are displayed on their app and to icons on the app, they announced that a new update was coming as well. This new update is going to make it so that advertisers will be able to easily create ads and submit these to the app without having to talk directly to a Snapchat representative. With a high level of advertising customization, advertisers will be able create a place where users can swipe to go to their site, buy their product, or do anything else that benefits the advertiser. They will even be able to target their advertisements to a range of demographics. This should help to make it so that advertisers are able to more easily submit and customize their advertisements.

 

In addition to just making some changes in the submission process, they announced exactly where these ads would be appearing. The ads will work a lot like the ones on YouTube do where users have to see the ads before watching the videos. In this case, the advertisements will appear between the stories that users view as they are scrolling through their feed looking for updates from friends.

 

Already, Snapchat is starting to see a bit of an adverse reaction to the newly announced advertisements. Many users are worried that the ads will become annoying and intrusive after this initial change to the social media application. For now, Snapchat allows the option of scrolling past these ads, but many users fear that this will change over time. If Snapchat can successfully add a greater number of advertisements into their app, without upsetting their user base, they may have a good chance of taking a lot of the advertising dollars that currently go to Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Adds Video Comments to Change User Interactions

video on cell phoneIn a recent change to their social media platform, Facebook now allows users to post comments in the form of videos downloaded from a phone or a computer. This is a new extension to the ever expanding number of ways for users to interact with each other on posts made through Facebook. With the addition of video comments users will be able to use their videos in ways that they never have been able to use them before.

 

This new addition to Facebook was created during their 50th hackathon back in February, but had to go through several months of tweaks and tests before being released to all of their users. Initially the change was only available when visiting the site on a computer, but it is now going to be in the newest update for the Facebook app on mobile phones as well. This will allow users on all platforms access to this particular feature.

 

To use a video as a comment, users only have to click on the same camera icon that they would have previously used just to add photos to comments. They will then be given the option to upload either a picture or a video to add as a part of their comment. Videos are just the latest in a whole group of additions for visual comments in the past. They arrive in the wake of pictures, stickers, links, and emojis which were all previous additions to comments.

 

Most people see the addition of videos to their comments on Facebook as no surprise because it continues to follow Facebook’s current trend of putting a higher emphasis on video. As the social media site grows and changes, it is clear that video and adding more uses for video is one of its huge goals. Many suggest that this is Facebook’s way of getting in on the success of Snapchat and similar apps. As Facebook continues to transform their site to be more video friendly, updates like this one just make sense.

Twitter Changes Character Limit to Make Tweeting Less Frustrating

tweetingIn its struggle to remain relevant and to make its product more appealing to customers, Twitter has announced changes to its traditional character limit. The Twitter 140 character limit has been something that has aggravated users from the launch of Twitter. Of course, Twitter won’t be doing away with the character limit right away either. Twitter’s main goal right now is to eliminate problems that users have with the character limit and other Twitter functions.

 

One of the main complaints about Twitter over the years has been the way that Twitter makes it hard to address large groups of people. The character count currently takes into account the Twitter handle of the person that you are talking to as part of the 140 characters. With the new changes in place, Twitter will make it so that people can mention as many Twitter handles as they would like without them counting against the character limit. In addition to this change, Twitter is also making it so that the links for videos and pictures don’t count against the Tweet characters. This is something that has caused major frustration among Twitter users since the social media site began allowing pictures and videos.

 

One of the long awaited changes that is also part of Twitter’s new set of changes to be launched is a change to using at symbols at the beginning of a Tweet. It used to be that the @mention could appear only with a period in front of it. This made it so users were having to start their Tweets with a period just so that they could begin with a mention. Twitter is doing away with this which means users won’t have to worry about this pesky punctuation anymore.

 

Twitter’s main reasons for changing their Tweets in this way is to make it so that those who are using Twitter do not have to struggle so much with problems that they have been complaining about since the beginning. They want to allow users more characters that they can use for expressing themselves rather than having characters eaten up by all of the technical aspects of the tweet. It will be interesting to see how this change to the Twitter limit effects the way that people are tweeting.

Changes Made to Facebook Trending Topics After Accusations

facebook home pageFacebook was recently accused of altering the trending topics listed on their site to purposefully remove conservative topics from the trending ones on the side of the main page. After a personal investigation, Facebook didn’t see that there was any wrongdoing, but despite this fact, they have decided to make a couple of changes just so that they can make sure nothing like this ever happens.

 

During the investigation that Facebook did on their process for choosing trending topics they found that conservative and liberal topics were actually represented almost equally making it so that topics like the Black Lives Matter campaign were just as likely to come up as a story from the conservative side of things. They determined that there was no bias on their website when it came to picking the stories that they would mark as trending.

 

To make sure that the process stays unbiased, Facebook is making a few changes. They are planning to remove their reliance on a specific list of news outlets to validate different stories and look at their relevance as a whole. They are also going to stop having an importance level given to the topics based on their prevalence in top news outlets. The goal is to make the algorithm much less biased this way.

 

One of the other big changes they will be making is to crack down a bit on their team of individuals that actually review the different topics that are trending. These teams will have meetings to talk about making unbiased decisions on what shows up and what doesn’t. They will also be watched more closely to ensure that there are not unfair decisions that are being made based on a person’s individual ideology. With these changes they hope to improve their lists of trending topics and continue to provide an unbiased list of high ranking topics.

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.