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Instagram Continues to Add Features to Keep Up with Snapchat

selfieInstagram is continuing its battle with Snapchat as it continues to add similar features to allow for a greater level of competition. Their newest update includes a range of similar features including the ability to add face filters with live special effects. Instagram users can select the new face icon at the bottom of the screen and use these different types of filters when taking pictures on rear facing or front facing cameras and even creating Boomerang video clips.

 

Other features that are also part of this update included the ability to record video and play it in reverse, something that Snapchat had already developed. Another addition is the ability to add hashtag stickers that link to that hashtag, allowing users to explore similar pictures or videos that have been tagged with the same hashtag. They’ve even added a feature that allows users to cover a picture with color and then erase certain areas of the picture in a creative way.

 

Over the last year or so, Instagram has been quickly adding a lot of new features so that they can continue to compete with similar apps. Many of these features aren’t that different from ones that Snapchat offers already. Instagram has been adding all kinds of different features that are ones that match with Snapchat as this application is one of its biggest competitors. Offering features that are similar or better than Snapchat may help them to stay relevant in the long run.

 

New features including face filters, hashtag stickers, and the erase tool are available in the newer versions of Instagram. They are available in version 10.22 and newer. To update the Instagram version that you are using visit the iTunes app store or the Windows store where you can install the new version of Instagram. Once this is installed, you’ll be able to enjoy experimenting with all the new features.

Snapchat Makes It Easy to Make Connections by Adding a Search Bar

searchFor a long while, users of Snapchat have been waiting for some kind of tool that they can use to easily go through snaps and find the ones that they might be interested in. While the app has been criticized in the past for having a confusing layout, it is clear that Snapchat is now making progress toward creating an app that is a lot more organized. On Thursday, a new update rolled out a new search function to many Android users.

 

While other social media features have had search bars for a very long time, Snapchat is new to the search function. By adding a search bar to their app, they have put themselves in line with the standards of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Users will now be able to look for friends, media companies, and search the app for things that might interest them on the whole. This feature adds a new level of accessibility to the app by allowing people to more easily use the app to connect with friends and with their favorite brands.  

 

The universal search has made it a lot easier for people to find new people to follow on Snapchat and to make it so that followers can find them as well. By using the search function, users are able to find people making different snaps about subjects that interest them the most. Snapchat hopes to use this new feature to encourage new users who may have been previously discouraged by the lack of a search feature.

 

In addition to this search function, Snapchat has been working on creating a much more organized layout on the whole. Part of this update has meant changing the layout so that Snapchat users are able to access their profile from any screen by tapping the ghost icon or Bitmoji. This makes it easier for Snapchat users to continue using this app without getting lost in the app altogether. With the new features as a part of this app, Snapchat may be able to quell complaints that focus on their layout being overly complicated or confusing.

Facebook’s Messenger Update Seems Ready to Challenge Snapchat

facebook messengerFacebook recently made the decision to add some great new features to Facebook Messenger which allow people to communicate using pictures complete with stickers, filters, and more. This new update adds many features similar to those popular on Snapchat including masks and filters that can be used for pictures or for video as well. Unlike Snapchat, the pictures and videos that are sent don’t have any kind of time limit, so people can view them however they want.

 

With the new update to Facebook Messenger, users can add masks, effects, stickers, and frames on their photos and videos captured with the in-app camera. To use the new camera features, users just have to open the app and tap the camera button. This will then show you the different types of items that can be used on the photo that you’ll be taking. The new update also makes it so that users can draw on images and add their own text.

 

Prior to this update, Facebook Messenger did have a camera feature, but this was one that was fairly plain and boring. Facebook has now added a camera that offers all of the frills and editing features that have been proven successful in other platforms like Snapchat. They hope that by adding these items they’ll be able to encourage people to spend more time sharing videos and pictures with each other through Facebook Messenger.

 

The update represents a part of one of Facebook’s recent goals which is to make Messenger something that exists in real time and is a lot more visual than it has been. This new update also makes it so that Messenger can compete more directly with Snapchat and other applications. Some are already claiming that Facebook’s new messenger update helps to make it better than Snapchat since Facebook’s version allows users to place text and stickers before a picture is even taken, making it easier to line up items in the picture and streamlining the process of creating and sharing these items. This update is definitely one that brings Facebook into a space to compete with Snapchat more easily.

Looking to the Effects of Social Media in the Wake of Election Results

american flagAfter an unexpected win by Donald Trump in this year’s election, many people are starting to look into the way that social media played a role. Trump was a candidate with an undeniably large social media presence from the beginning. He received the most attention for his interactions on Twitter, but he was also present on other social media sites during his campaign. Reports from those tracking the campaign show that many supporters were able to find each other through social media and to follow campaigns through Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat.

 

Information after election day now shows us how social media has changed the way that people follow the election results and how they enter the discussion on candidates through social media. One of the key sites for election day interactions was Twitter. Between the start of election day and 3am the next day when Trump claimed his victory Twitter saw more than 75 million tweets that were related to the election. This is up from 2012, when there were only around 31 million tweets that were related to that election. It is clear from these statistics alone that more people are turning to social media when it comes to coverage of important events.

 

In a study that was conducted on how social media actually changes people’s opinions on a political subject, it was clear that social media can do more than just get people interacting with one another. The study discovered that 20% of social media users said they had changed an opinion about a social or political issue because of something they saw on social media.  Additionally, 17% reported that social media had changed their view on a political candidate. In the majority of cases, the view had changed for the worse rather than for the better.

 

Many people worry about the way that social media can effect discourse on different political subjects just because of the format of social media itself. Some argue that there is no room for educated and civil discourse when social media users are communicating in memes and in 140 character bursts. The interactions between people on either side of the political spectrum within social media, appear in general to be negative interactions that degrade quickly to name calling. There is also concern that social media gets people to focus more on scandals rather than on the policies of the candidates.

 

One thing is certain, social media appears to make political opinions and interactions much more present in people’s everyday life, making it harder for people to avoid looking at the different sides of the argument. Candidates and average citizens alike have the ability to interact in completely new ways throughout this discussion. Whether this is beneficial or problematic for political discourse in our country remains to be seen.

Instagram Update Brings Instagram Stories to The Explore Tab

instagram photoIn a recent update, Instagram added their Instagram stories to the Explore tab within their app. The Explore tab allows users to see a variety of different types of stories and posts that relate to their interests, but don’t necessarily come from people they are following. Instagram released an update that created Instagram stories back in August. Adding these stories to the Explore tab will help to make them more prevalent on the site.

 

The goal of adding Instagram stories to the Explore tab was to boost engagement and accessibility for users on Instagram. With this tab to work with, users will be able to see stories related to their interests and through this process discover more people that they may want to follow. This is a great way for Instagram users to find accounts that are posting what they are most interested in. The update has already gone out globally among all of the iOS users. To start seeing these stores in the Explore tab, Android users have to update to Instagram version 9.5.0 or above.

 

There are mixed reviews on this particular update, which is no surprise since many Instagram users were already not too happy with the addition of Instagram stories. While having these posts show up in the Explore tab could help users to gain more followers, many people are annoyed since there are stories from random accounts on their page. Those who follow only a select group of people often don’t want to be seeing these new accounts popping up all of the time.

 

Most people recognize that this further update to Instagram is just one more way for it to compete with Snapchat. Adding the Instagram stories which are very similar to Snapchat stories to the Explore tab just makes these stories even more prevalent within the Instagram community. Further updates are likely to come out as these different apps continue to compete.

Twitter Makes Changes to Direct Messaging

messagingIn a recent move, Twitter released an update for their direct messaging application. The new changes to this particular feature of the website include adding typing indicators, read receipts, and also content previews beneath links that are sent over this messaging program. Many of these changes are ones that put this messaging program on a similar level to others used by different social media sites.

 

As part of the new changes to their direct messaging, Twitter has implemented read receipts. These make it so that users are able to see when the person who receives the message has looked at it. In addition to this, Twitter also has added typing indicators which are small boxes that pop up to let you know when the other person is typing. This can help you to avoid typing at the same time. These different features are all part of Facebook messaging already so there is nothing especially innovative about them.

 

Many people don’t really like having it so that the other person can tell if they have read a message. Luckily, Twitter has a solution for this. Users that don’t want to have read receipts sent to other users they are talking to can turn off this feature in the settings of the Twitter application. If they turn off read receipts, they will then be unable to see when people have read their messages in addition to other people not being able to see when they have read theirs’.

 

Twitter is continuing to add different features as they are struggling to compete with different social media sites. Many users are complaining that while Twitter continues to add updates, these are not the updates that Twitter users have been asking for. One update that Twitter users would like to see is a lift on the limit of how many direct messages can be sent in one day. For now, it looks like Twitter isn’t interested in making these user requested changes.

New Snapchat Update Pairs with Bitmoji to Create Personalized Emoji

emojiAfter acquiring a company called Bitstrips early this year, Snapchat has finally announced something new that users will be able to do as a result. In a new update, Snapchat made it so that users will be able to create personalized emoji that look like them on Bitstrips’ Bitmoji app and link them into Snapchat. The new update had many Snapchat users rushing to download the Bitmoji app to start using these new emoji.

 

With the ability to link these two apps comes a range of ways that Snapchat users will be able to use their customized emoji. The emoji will be made in the Bitmoji app, but once they are created, Snapchat users will be able to use them in Snapchat for videos, photos, and even for the in app chat with their friends. This will allow users to express themselves in new and interesting ways through the app.

 

It may take a bit for a user to link Snapchat and Bitmoji together, but once they figure out how to link the two together, they will stay linked so that users don’t have to worry about that complication. Snapchat users will be able to enjoy making all kinds of different emoji in Bitmoji after creating an avatar that looks similar to them. These emoji will then take on relevant applications within Snapchat. In addition to this, the new update also added some changes to how users could send video by allowing users to create face paint and then film themselves with it on in the video.

 

After the new update was announced, there were so many users that wanted to install the Bitmoji app and link the two together that Snapchat servers ended up crashing entirely. The social media site greatly underestimated the interest in their new connection to this app and were not planning for so many people to try to connect these two apps. Both are now working well again so users will be able to try customizing emoji for themselves.

Snapchat Changes Gears by Creating Snapchat Memories

snapchatSnapchat is changing the way that people interact on it with a new update that they added last week. While Snapchat was originally about getting people to interact with small movies and picture clips that would then disappear forever, the new change makes it so that the app actually has a memory and will retain different photos and videos separate from the gallery on your phone. These memories can also be searched thanks to the image recognition software that is part of the app.

 

What Snapchat has added at this point is a gallery accessible within this app alone that will allow you to view an archive of all of the different snaps that you have taken over the years. This is a big change from before where anything taken with this app had to then be saved onto your camera roll rather than within the app itself if you wanted to keep it. Snapchat users will be able to access these snaps and even send them to friends.

 

Additionally, there is a feature makes it so that you can lock different photos with a password to make them accessible to you alone. The idea of this is to make any of those snaps that you don’t want people to see invisible again. This helps users to hide any photos that they might not want a friend scrolling through the app to see.

 

Naturally, some users are a little bit concerned about the new update. Part of the update allows users to include pictures from their standard camera roll in the snaps that they post. Snapchat users are a bit concerned about this specifically since they worry that snaps will lose a lot of the character that makes them unique to Snapchat. Over time, people will no doubt begin seeing the way these changes really effect Snapchat as a whole.

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.