Social Web Update 03.12.18
My weekly annotated summary of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts.
Love the Numbers
All the unease about teens becoming alienated and lonely as a consequence of their addiction to social media, may just be so much wasted handwringing. The kids are on balance okay according to a Pew research study released last week. The research found that “teens credit online platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook with strengthening friendships (81 percent), letting them interact with a more diverse group (69 percent), and feeling as if they’ll have support during tough times (68 percent).” On the flip side, they do admit to “feeling overwhelmed by all of the drama (45 percent), pressure to only post what makes them look good (43 percent), and pressure to post content that gets lots of likes and comments (37 percent).”
Facebook’s ‘Watch Party’ is now available to everyone and added new features including “threaded comments so people can have conversations, as well as live commentating, which gives hosts the ability to go live and comment aloud as a video plays. Users can also now schedule a Watch Party ahead of time.” Launched last January, ‘Watch Party’ lets you and your friends watch and comment on videos at the same time.
Making a pitch to replace rapidly disappearing local newspapers, Facebook is expanding its ‘Today In’ section that provides coverage of news and information from their local towns and cities. Now available in 400 U.S. cities, ‘Today In’ according to one TNW columnist will if nothing else be a boon to local activists making it easier to find information about local issues cases “and unite people better to solve them.”
Twitter has strengthened its ‘hateful conduct’ policies, which include restrictions on abusive images and display names . TNW reports that “The new rewording is far more protective in what it considers to be a threat, and now encompasses “media that depicts victims of the Holocaust,” “media that depicts lynchings,” and “images depicting others as less than human, or altered to include hateful symbols, e.g., altering images of individuals to include animalistic features.”
An early holiday season gift from YouTube: Starting in the new year, YouTube’s original content (Cobra Kai etc.) will be free for everyone, although non-premium subscribers will see ad-supported versions of the free-to-watch originals. Concomitant with this announcement though, The Hollywood Reporter says YouTube “will pull back on its scripted original content in 2020 as it reduces its production budget in light of the pivot in strategy.”
YouTube has rolled out YouTube Stories to all eligible creators with 10,000 subscribers. Described by YouTube as a ‘lightweight” way to reach a creator’s audience — “You can add text, music, filters, YouTubey stickers, and more to make your story uniquely you! To create a story, just open the YouTube mobile app, tap on the video camera icon, and select ‘Create Story.’ “
Recognizing that the visually impaired can have difficulty in taking full advantage of the image and video platform, Instagram is making two changes to make it more accessible: First it will offer “automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile; Second, it is introducing “custom alternative text so you can add a richer description of your photos when you upload a photo. People using screen readers will be able to hear this description.”
People who want share Instagram stories with a tighter group of friends will now be able to do so by creating an Instagram ‘Close Friends’ list. This provides the “flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose. “