Social Web Recap 26.06.17
A weekly annotated one-two sentence 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 its ongoing efforts to stave off video creation challenges thrown up by Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, YouTube is updating its mobile app to "better support video shot in other formats and orientations . . . the software itself (will) adapt to play the video in the appropriate way, instead of trying to cram differently sized videos into one fixed area of the app because of technical constraints." In other words, the YouTube player will adjust its orientation to how the viewer is watching the video.
The big news this week was Snapchat's introduction of Snap Map, and the immediate critical reaction from some to its threat to privacy. Snap Map allows users to share their location with friends. But as Dani Deahl pointed out in The Verge, "what Snapchat doesn’t tell you in the video, or in the app, is that if you aren’t careful, Snap Map will broadcast your exact location to anyone on your friends list every time you open the app." If users forget they have Snap Map enabled, it could make stalking—how should we put it—less complicated.
Tumblr got into a little trouble with the LGBTQ community early in the week thanks to its Safe Mode, which prevents users from seeing NSFW content without specifically opting in. Unfortunately, Safe Mode got a little carried away, becoming overzealous in its filtering of supposedly 'sensitive' posts in search results. Tumblr quickly apologized and made some adjustments to its algorithm to focus on classifying individual posts rather than assuming all posts on an explicit Tumblr should be flagged as delicate. As a side note, Tumblr's apology post is an admirable example of effective 'crisis' communications—sincere, frank and proposing immediate modifications and specific commitments to do better.
One the most confusing developments this week was Twitter's addition to Periscope of something called SuperHearts "a set of virtual goods that users can send to their favorite broadcasters as a show of support." Okay . . . why would a user want to spend money (actually a new virtual currency issued by Periscope) to buy hearts for a broadcaster. Having read The Verge article twice I still don't get it . . . and it's not the writer's fault.
Not explicitly a platform development, but a new study from the Reuters Institute For The Study of Journalism provides evidence that WhatsApp has become a significant competitor to Facebook for reporting news, especially in Brazil and Spain (although not in North America.)
Facebook wants to make the thankless task of group administration easier by adding new functionality, including 'group insights' to provide metrics around growth, engagement and membership, new ways for admins to sort and filter membership requests, adding a facility for group admins to 'remove a person and the content they’ve created within the group, including posts, comments and other people added to the group, in one step', facilitating scheduling of posts , and testing group-to-group recommendations and linking.
Only available in India for the moment, Facebook has introduced new tools to help people control who can download and share their profile pictures. Indian women in particular have expressed concern about posting profile pictures because of the threat of misuse.
Pinterest is trying to up its game in visual search technology by improving its camera search tool Lens. Techcrunch reports that it has updated the ability "to zoom in and out and tap to focus" and target what in a photo someone is looking for, all in the interest of keeping pace with Instagram and Snapchat.
Linkedin has added "the ability to include images into the comments you share on LinkedIn to give you a richer, more expressive way to have conversations. So the next time you have something complex to say, you can use that venn diagram to make your point." Not that venn diagram's are the most expressive of visual forms!