Social Web Recap 13.11.17
A weekly annotated short summary of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts.
In keeping with last week's theme of changes in the architecture of news usage, Pew Research Center reports that the gap between television and online news consumption is narrowing—"The share of Americans who often get news from TV – whether from local TV news, nightly network TV news or cable news – has fallen, while the portion of Americans often getting news online – either from news websites/apps or social media – has grown."
Surely the biggest news last week was the planned redesign of the Snapchat application to make it easier to use (about bloody time) announced by Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel. According to Business Insider, the key features of the redesign will be a streamlined user interface that segregates content from friends into one section of the app, "while public-facing Stories — including those from influencers — will live in a separate, dedicated, section of the app, alongside publisher content." This section will include algorithmically sorted influencer stories, 'Our Stories', publisher content and other public material.
Also in the big news category, Twitter implemented its long anticipated boost to the platform's character count limitation—from 140 to 280 characters. In its test leading up to the full roll out, Twitter reports that the new length resulted in more tweeting, and that "people who had more room to tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter." And more in the getting bigger category—they're expanding the room for your Twitter display name to 50 characters. My take on all this? I'm reminded of a phrase from a 1969 Vogue interview with the master dramatist Samuel Beckett who said "Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness."
Facebook is beta testing a Messenger chat plugin for desktop, mobile and tablets so that customers can speak with businesses directly on their websites.
TechCrunch reports that "Facebook is rebranding its standalone Events app as 'Facebook Local' . . . (which) combines events and permanent places to a single search engine powered by Facebook 70 million business Pages plus reviews and friends’ checkins." It will identify restaurants, entertainment, and other businesses within the general vicinity of a user.
Continuing its expansion of 'Marketplace' (cars and car dealerships were added recently), Facebook is now including housing rentals and partnering with housing rental sources like Apartment List and Zumper to add to the listings.
TNW reports that Instagram now lets users "post Stories that are older than 24-hours . . . Now, the app lets you browse through your library and pick any image or video you want, regardless of when it was taken. All you have to do is slide up from the camera and it will open up your library, just like before, only now the range is limitless."
The image sharing platform is testing allowing users to follow hashtags in addition to people, although according to TNW it is limited for the time being to top posts and recent’ stories.
Instagram wants all influencers, celebrities and other 'creators' (a term I use loosely here) to use its branded content tool—"a standardized format where posts are identified at the top as a 'paid partnership with' an advertiser, and also to provide the advertiser with data about a post’s performance."
It's not an app I pay much attention to, but Greg Blatt, the CEO of Tinder’s parent company, Match used an earnings call to outline a plan "to change the whole Tinder experience after a match is made, featuring a rich dynamic content experience bringing you deep into the activities of the people you’ve already matched with.'" (Whatever that means!) This includes adding AI and location-based functionality intended to make the app less boring and, one assumes, more effective in its physical matchmaking.