February 2016

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.