Social Media News Brief

Twitter Tests a Tweet Storm Feature to Help Users Break Character Limits

tweetIt appears that Twitter is currently working on early testing for a feature that would allow users to draft out long threads of Tweets before posting all of them at once. One Twitter user recently tweeted out some screen shots taken of himself composing three tweets and posting them all at the same time. While the feature doesn’t appear to be testing publically just yet, Twitter users were able to get a first look at what the feature might look like if implemented.

 

Right now, the only way for a user to link their tweets together is to go through the often tedious process of replying to their individual tweets with another tweet continuing their point. This kind of tweeting is often referred to as a Tweet Storm. The new feature, if it is ever implemented, would eliminate the current difficulty of creating these threads, allowing users to easily link tweets together while editing them and posting them simultaneously.

 

Tweet Storms have been growing in popularity, becoming far more common on Twitter in the past few years. Twitter has talked about the possibility of extending Tweets beyond their 140 character limit in the past, but mostly they have continued to uphold the limit, making only small updates that allowed users to utilize all 140 characters fully. The new feature would be something that would likely encourage Tweet Storms and allow them to find new prevalence on the site, a clear compromise between extending the 140 character limit and making it easier for these Tweet Storms to take place.

 

While some users are sure to object to this new feature if it is ever implemented, it is easy to see why Twitter would like to have a feature like this one. There are many influential and well followed Twitter users who commonly embark on these so called Tweet Storms. As these are users that Twitter would want to encourage, it makes sense for them to make it easier for people to link several tweets together and post them for the world to see.

 

There are some definite benefits to linking tweets that could be used by those in the business world. By using a feature like this one, a business would be able to easily talk about a sale and then link this announcement to specific tweets about various products that were available at discounted prices. Allowing editing of these tweets all at the same time would make it easier for business representatives to maintain professional standards.

Facebook Tests New Colored Comments, Users Disapprove

facebookMany users have started to talk about a new feature that they have been testing on the Facebook app. Facebook appears to be testing a feature that will allow users to post comments in the colors and color gradients that can be used on text posts already. While the test appears to still be in its early phases some are already reacting to the change comparing it to the bold color choices that were common on the MySpace platform.

 

This new feature would be one to follow the addition of color and color gradients to text posts which came out back in December. When Facebook was asked about testing the colored comments, they said that they are currently working on finding new ways for people to communicate within the platform. The colors are just one way to add creativity and variety to conversations going on within Facebook.

 

Since the feature is still in testing only a few select users are currently able to work with this feature right now. If the colored comments are deemed to be a success, Facebook may eventually roll them out to all users as they did with the colored text posts several months ago. So far the new feature only seems to be accessible to mobile users, so the test hasn’t yet reached other types of users.

 

While this feature is only being tested right now, users already have a lot to say about it. Many users are in uproar about this potential feature, stating that the colors will make Facebook look garish and ruin the look of the news feed. With the mismatch of colors on both posts and their comments, the news feed has the potential to become much bolder and more colorful. The question is whether this will actually be something that helps to add to the interactions currently available on Facebook or something that will turn users away.

Instagram Updates Multi Photo Posts to Allow Different Aspect Ratios

instagramWhile many Instagram users were excited about multi photo and video posts when Instagram added this feature in February, some were bothered by the fact that their photos had to be posted in Instagram’s standard 1:1 aspect ratio, making all photos into a square. This aspect ratio has been one that Instagram users have often found problematic as it makes it necessary to crop the photo, sometimes in ways that users don’t like. Instagram has now made a change so users can use either landscape or portrait format when posting multiple photos or videos.

 

Instagram’s goal with this change has been to allow a much greater level of creativity from the users on Instagram. Users will be able to decide before posting multiple photos or videos if they want these to display as landscape, portrait, or some other ratio entirely. All photos in a set have to stick to the same aspect ratio for consistency’s sake, so users will still be somewhat limited by this requirement. Of course, as with before, users will be able to continue to use the 1:1 ratio if this is what they prefer.

 

This update has come about following several much smaller updates that were made to these multi photo and video postings. Previous updates made it possible for people to go back after they had posted and tag people they may have forgotten. Another update focused on allowing users to save photos as a draft on the iOS platform before they posted the photo.

 

In addition to this change to the multi photo posts, users have noticed some other unannounced changes to the Instagram app. Some of these include making certain fonts smaller and thinner to allow for more space between words. These make it so that the app appears far less cramped than it did previously.

Facebook Adds New Features for Panoramic Pictures

facebookLast year, Facebook added the ability to upload panoramic photos to their platform for all users. They have now chosen to extend this ability to make it so that users will be able to capture panoramic photos using the Facebook app rather than having to use a device that is able to take these panoramic photos or a different app to allow these to be taken. This means that all users who have the Facebook app can begin taking these photos and using them on Facebook.

 

The update has now rolled out to both iOS and Android so anyone using the Facebook app will be able to use this new feature. Users will be able to just open their Facebook app and then click on the 360 photo option that is at the top of their news feed. This will allow them to start taking panoramic pictures directly from the app on their phone so that they can then use the different photos on Facebook.

 

Facebook allows you to share the 360 degree photos that you take with your friends as you would normally. They even have additional options that will allow you to choose the starting view for the photo that will display on people’s news feeds. The photo can be used around Facebook and shared with friends via timeline posts, albums, or even on group pages. You’ll even be able to tag friends in the photos that you take.

 

In addition to making these pictures usable just about anywhere around Facebook, the update also makes it so that you can use a panoramic photo from either the app or any other source as your cover photo on your profile page. This change is the first that has been made to cover photos since they were initially introduced to Facebook. The change will allow users to make the cover photo on their page something that is more fun.

Instagram Update Allows Users to Communicate With Pictures

In a new update, Instagram has started to allow users to respond to pictures in direct messages that use images as a response. While this may sound complicated, it is actually something that is fairly simple and had the intention of simplifying interactions between users. The feature makes it easier for people to specify exactly what their direct messages are in response to by creating whatever you’re responding to as a sticker that will then go into your reply image. The feature is one that provides a person with a greater amount of versatility when responding to images on Instagram.

 

This update is an addition to the direct messaging that already exists within Instagram. To use the new feature, simply tap on the reply button on the photo or video that you would like to reply to. This image will then be turned into a sticker that you can then overlay your reaction on. For example, you could have the sticker version of what you are responding to and then in the background you could be making a face showing your response to this image.

 

You are able to further use this sticker in your responses by drawing on the sticker itself and moving it around to fit with whatever your response is. By allowing further editing, Instagram is providing people with a further way to interact with the image and express their response more clearly while staying fairly visual and much more fun.

 

By adding this feature into Instagram, the hope is that conversing with friends via Instagram will become something that is a lot more fun to do. The visual elements of this new feature show ways in which Instagram is further competing with Snapchat. If people are more attracted to Instagram’s version of communicating through images, they may be less likely to use apps like Snapchat in the future.

Instagram Tests a New Update to Live Streaming

instagram live chatFollowing in Facebook’s footsteps, Instagram is planning a new update that will allow people using Instagram live to invite a friend, family member, or fan to join them during the stream. The hope is that many users will enjoy using this feature to chat with friends and make their live streams more interesting. Many people are seeing this feature as one that will allow for more useful back and forth dialogue with people who are not actively in the room with you when you are live streaming.

 

Since Facebook released a similar feature in May, it is no surprise that Instagram has followed by beginning testing of their new version of Instagram Live. The new version will allow users to invite anyone viewing their live stream to join the video. Once guests are live with you, either you can decide when you are done talking to them or they can leave the live stream themselves.

 

You can easily add a friend to your live stream just by tapping a new icon that will appear at the bottom right showing two smiley faces. Once you have added the person you are interested in talking to and they have accepted, the screen will be split in half and both people will be visible on the live stream until the second person is removed or removes themselves.

 

Splitting the screen evenly is a new design from the typical FaceTime model where one person appears much smaller than the other. Instagram is hoping that by splitting the screen, they’ll be visually representing an even back and forth between two people. Currently the feature is only available to a randomly selected group of users while it goes through its trial period. In next few months, Instagram plans to roll out the feature officially.

Facebook Further Updates News Feed to Prioritize Certain Articles

facebookFor the last few months, Facebook has been working on improvements to their news feed to make it easier for them to restrict access to fake and click-bait type articles while providing a better user experience for those who use Facebook as a place to obtain news and information. Their newest update is one that focuses on eliminating website links that are to sites with slow loading web pages.

 

Facebook’s new update to the News Feed algorithm will be looking at how fast links from different sources load and ranking the ones that are faster loading further up on the page. They hope that with this change, they’ll be able to make the user experience a lot better for their users. The change should allow users to spend a lot more time reading the stories that they find rather than waiting for pages to load.

 

Adding this new change came about since people looking for interesting articles to read and share online are often annoyed by stories that load up slowly. By implementing this change, Facebook will be able to decrease the reach of stories that load too slowly pressuring the sites to change the way that their pages load or to resolve to live without spreading on Facebook in a way that allows them to reach the highest number of users.

 

The changes to the News Feed will roll out slowly over the months to come, allowing different publishers to make any adjustments that will be needed to ensure that their links continue to come up on the News Feed in the future. The change may also benefit Facebook’s Instant Articles as these will be ones that will load up quickly meaning that publishers may choose to use this program instead of fixing problems with load times on their normal platforms.

Twitter’s New Update to Notifications Shows A Different Type of Notification

twitter notificationsTwitter recently updated its notifications tab to include a feature that is set up to show you what the people you follow are doing on Twitter. These new notifications will remind you to join the conversation by tweeting about something that is trending, show you when those you follow share links to a popular article, and let you know when they follow another user’s account. While this has been testing for the last year, the feature was finally launched this week.

 

The new feature is something that Twitter added to make sure that users wouldn’t miss content they might be interested in. By analyzing what people you are following do, it attempts to share information that you might otherwise miss when logging into Twitter after a while. As Twitter users often share many tweets each day and many people follow a lot of different accounts, it would be easy to miss something in this shuffle.

 

One of the disadvantages of the new feature is that it has made Twitter’s notifications tab a lot more crowded as there are more notifications that appear in this tab. For someone who spends minimal time on Twitter, the number of notifications that come in could be more difficult to deal with as a result. Those who don’t want as many of these new notifications cluttering their notifications tab can select “see less often” and then have some of them filtered out.

 

Many Twitter users have already started to complain about this feature. Some have been asking about a way to block these new notifications entirely so that they don’t end up checking their app for a Twitter notification that doesn’t relate to their personal tweets or the tweets of those they are following. As of now, it seems there is no way to block the new notifications entirely.

Twitter Claims the New Anti Abuse Features are Helping

twitterWith the year half over, Twitter is claiming that the anti abuse features that they have put into place are getting results. At the beginning of the year, Twitter said it would be focusing more on preventing a lot of the abuse that was taking place on the platform. Twitter has since implemented a range of different features to stop abuse and to hide it from view. They are happy with the results that they are seeing so far.

Over the years, Twitter has often been criticized for focusing on small cosmetic issues on their site and similar features, while letting abuse on their platform go unchecked. The new features have shown that Twitter is willing to step up and take the abuse on the platform a lot more seriously. As a result of their new features, they have been able to catch abuse more often and to prevent further incidents of abuse by letting users know why their accounts are suspended or limited after an incident.

 

Twitter announced that due to its new anti abuse features, they have been seeing significantly less abuse than at the beginning of the year. The new policies and features have resulted in a lot more warnings being sent out to different accounts, as well as more users being temporarily limited. In some cases, Twitter has even managed to suspend accounts that were particularly abusive. They are hopeful that by taking this firmer stance on abuse they’ll be able to limit the abuse users are experiencing.

 

While Twitter feels that they have made significant changes to the platform, many users are not satisfied with the changes. Many people feel that Twitter is still not doing enough to limit the abuse on their platform. Some even see these new changes as mostly cosmetic in nature, hiding abuse rather than removing it from the platform entirely. Twitter has acknowledged the fact that there is a lot still to do when it comes to preventing abuse on their platform.

Twitter Adds Additional Filters to Mute Abusive Accounts

mute accountsOne of the problems that Twitter has continued to struggle with is all the abusive and trolling comments that are on the platform. This is a common problem that comes partially from how global and public the social media network is. Since strangers all over the world can see tweets of other strangers, it is easy for abusive accounts to thrive. While users are allowed to set accounts to private, most don’t as this can keep them from connecting with people they are hoping to connect with. The new filters are intended to help users protect themselves, while allowing their account to remain open to the public.

 

The new filter options allow you to block notifications that come from accounts that are the most likely to be trolls. You’ll now be able to mute notifications that come from new accounts that you don’t follow, accounts that don’t follow you that you also don’t follow, or even just all accounts that don’t follow you. These new filters are targeted at protecting you from unwanted spam and from abusive comments as well.

 

The new filter options are actually an addition to an earlier update that allowed users to mute notifications from those without a profile picture, without a confirmed email address or phone number, and accounts that a user didn’t follow. The new filters are easy to access by going into notifications on your app, clicking on settings, and then checking the boxes for your preferred filters. This allows users to mute the types of accounts that they are personally more concerned with.

 

While the new filter settings are designed to help curb abusive and troll-like behavior on the platform, the problem isn’t completely solved by this feature. As Twitter users have to opt into the different filters, they may still leave the different accounts not muted if they don’t realize that this feature is out there or know this, but choose to see these different notifications. It is a step in limiting harassment and trolling, but Twitter still is far from solving this problem entirely.