December 2016

Instagram’s New Update Includes Stickers and More

emojiInstagram released a new update recently which added several new features. With the new update, users will now be able to add stickers to their pictures including ones that can provide context for a picture. They also have new hands free filming and the ability to move text around and to add multiple lines of text for further flexibility. These new changes are important for helping Instagram to stay competitive.


One of the biggest parts of this update is the addition of stickers that you can add to your images. This is much like Snapchat’s stickers, except that on Instagram you’ll actually be able to add multiple stickers to the same image. This will allow users to add all the different types of stickers that they want to make it so that their images look just the way they want them too.  Most of the stickers offered right now are holiday themed stickers, but in the future, stickers could include a range of different designs.


While some of the different types of stickers that are offered are more like emoji, there are some stickers that are meant to be used to add context to your image. These stickers allow you to add current weather, time, and even your location to the image that you are editing so that you can provide further context or even share with your friends how cold it is getting. These allow you to really enhance the value of a picture that you are sending out into the world.


Since users of social media have shifted to focus on communication through different types of images, social media sites like Instagram are changing their features to help make this a lot easier. Of course in this particular update Instagram added a few other features as well, including one that allows you to record video hands free. Rather than holding down the record button the app now allows you to just press to start recording and then press again to stop. They have also made it so that users are able to add multiple lines of text and arrange these as they want around their photos. All these new features are meant to benefit users and keep them more engaged.

New Facebook Update Makes It Easy to Add Color to Text-Only Statuses

facebook colorsThis week Facebook launched a new feature to add color options that can show up behind text-only posts. With their new update, some people are going to begin seeing a lot more colorful posts appearing on their news feed as their friends share statuses with new color schemes. The idea of this new color addition is that these colors will help to make text only posts more visually appealing.


For now, the update is only going out to Android users, but soon the feature will be released to iOS and web browsers as well. Users who have access to the new feature will be able to write their posts as they always did, but they will notice a color menu appearing under the box that they can type their post into. By selecting one of these colors or color gradients, the user will be able to have this color background appear with their post.


While the feature will not work with links, pictures, or videos, it does open up a wide range of options for those who are posting text-only statuses. Users will be able to select from a range of colors including the standard white as well as yellow, yellow orange gradient, red orange, green blue gradient, pink purple gradient, and grey. Facebook’s purpose is to make it so that text-only statuses don’t end up getting lost in the sea of links and videos that are being shared on Facebook.


Beyond just keeping these statuses from getting lost, Facebook is probably hoping to make it so that users are more interested in posting text-only content on their site. Over the last several years, they have seen a significant decrease in the number of original sharing posts that have appeared on their site. Since many users like to use Facebook as a way of keeping track of what their friends are doing, encouraging these kinds of posts rather than viral videos and news shares just makes sense. Whether the colored text-only posts significantly increase the number of posts like this remains to be seen.

Twitter Finally Launches Internal Live Video

live video streaming While Twitter was early to start on the development of live streaming within their social media platform, they just now have integrated this live video into Twitter itself. Twitter users can now broadcast live video directly from Twitter without installing Periscope or even having a Periscope account. This new update puts Twitter’s live video feature within Twitter in a way that makes it much more convenient to Twitter users.


In the past, there was some reluctance toward live streaming on Twitter as the process was over complicated. Users had to install the Periscope app and use this app to create live streaming videos. These would be shown on Twitter as well, but people watching the broadcasts couldn’t interact with the video. The new update changes this to make it so that Twitter users create live videos directly from Twitter.


One of the big changes with the update that rolled out earlier this week was not only to make it so that the video could be streamed live directly from Twitter, but also that viewers of the video would be able to interact with it more. Members of the audience can now respond to the video by making comments and sharing emoji. Tweets containing live streams may also be retweeted and shared making them a whole lot more versatile.


By adding this live streaming to their platform, Twitter is finally joining other social media sites in real competition for the live video market. Despite their head start with the acquisition of Periscope, the app was losing momentum long before the new update. This is because other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram released live video updates that made the live video streaming an internal feature that was easier to work with. Now that Twitter has integrated Periscope within its own app, they may be able to become more competitive in this area once again.

Facebook’s New Feature Allows Users to Create Their Own Frames

frameIn a new move last week, Facebook decided to release an update that would allow users to actually start making their own frames for pictures and videos displayed on the social media site. While custom frames have been available on other social media sites before now, Facebook is just now starting to allow people to create their own frames. Facebook has created frames in the past that users can add to their pictures, but for the first time Facebook is handing over the reins to the users on the site. For now, the feature is only available in some countries.


If you are in Colombia, Mexico, Taiwan, the UK, or Ireland, you may already be able to create frames for the pictures that you post on Facebook. The new feature makes it so that you can choose from dozens of profile frames or even use a special feature to create your own frames to go around your pictures. These frames will be ones that you can share with others who use the social media site as well so in time a vast selection of frames will be available.


While the tool is sure to be fun for normal users who want to create exciting frames to share with their friends, the main target of this tool is actually businesses and people who are planning special events like weddings and parties. The frames will allow related pictures and videos to go together in a completely new way or add advertisement to a standard photo. The application of this new feature should be very helpful for certain individuals.


One concern about these different types of frames is that some of these might break Facebook policies. However, Facebook is already on top of this. While frames can be shared with others, they must first be submitted for approval. Facebook will then check them to make sure that they adhere to Facebook terms before they are allowed to go live. The company will also be able to take down frames identified as inappropriate after they’ve been posted. The custom frame feature is not coming to the U.S. just yet, but hopefully we’ll see this feature sometime soon.

Facebook Adds Instant Games to Messenger to Get People More Interested in Using Messenger

pac-manOne of the newest updates for Facebook was one that added some great new games to Facebook’s Messenger app. While Facebook experimented in the past with some basketball and soccer games, they have now extended this so that there are 17 games to choose from. Through Messenger, friends can challenge each other to games and see if they can beat each other’s scores. This offers Facebook users with a new way to interact through social media.


The new games come as part of the newest version of the Messenger app which people can download now. The update has been rolled out to people in 30 countries already and should go out to others soon. Among the great games that people can play with their friends are classic games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders. These different arcade games make it easy for Facebook users to compete with their friends to get the best score.


Facebook initially rolled out two basic games in March to discover if people would be interested in games like these within the Messenger app. The soccer and basketball mini games that appeared at this time, were played more than a billion times, making it clear that games like these were a success. While Facebook currently has launched 17 different games for users to try out, they plan on adding different games in the future to keep things interesting.


To play games with your friends using the Messenger app, you simply have to open an existing conversation that you have with them or start a new one. If you have the new version of messenger, you’ll notice a game controller icon below where you type messages. Click on this to select a game and type a message to go with it. You can also do this in a group message to challenge multiple friends. While you are playing these games video and voice calls are available as well, so that you can further interact while playing these games.


Facebook’s interesting new update is already gaining popularity as people start to test out all of these new games. It will be interesting to see how this new type of interaction works for Facebook and whether this will be something that people enjoy doing with friends or if it becomes an unnecessary annoyance.

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