Social Web Update 19.11.18
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. This week it starts below the lovely photo courtesy of Unsplash.
Need reminding about what you and your friends have shared on Snapchat? Well Snapchat has introduced ‘Friendship Profiles’ where—privately— “you’ll find the images, videos, messages, links, and more that you and your friends have saved in Chat, all in one place.” Not being a Snapchat user—it’s not popular in my, how should I put this, demographic — I can’t say whether this adds value or not. Snapchatters let me know by leaving a comment.
Is this a sign of where Snapchat sees its future? Snapchat Shows is pushing for a foothold in Norway, where according to Digiday two-thirds of the population has a profile on the app and where last week “Six media companies have launched a total of seven Snapchat Shows, including Schibsted tabloid VGTV, public broadcaster NRK, three-year-old food TV channel Matkanalen, Media247 AS, digital media agency Splay and Snapchat creator Geeohsnap. The shows are roughly five minutes long and will carry six-second unskippable ads.” Unskillable ads of course are attractive for an app that struggles to monetize its features.
Okay . . . What is Snapchat really up to? We’ve got ‘Friendship Profiles’ (see above) and new shows in Norway. And now it seems they are opening what you could call a ‘pop up app store’. According to Mashable “Snapchat will open an in-app store where you can buy swag personalized with you and your friend's Bitmoji avatars. The feature is only available in Snapchat's iPhone app in the United States” for the time being anyway. The Bitmoji avatar images can be slapped on to sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and even shower curtains.
According to TNW, WhatsApp “is testing a new feature that should make it easier to add people to your contact list using QR codes . . . The report (from Wabetainfo) suggests that each user will have their own shareable QR Code; you can add someone to your contact list by scanning the code with your phone’s camera. WhatsApp will fill out your contact’s info automatically when it successfully reads the QR code.”
Attending a concert and thinking you might like to hookup with somebody? Tinder, of course, is always ready to help, but even moreso now. TechCrunch reports that the app is testing a “new in-app experience it’s calling ‘Swipe Surge’, that will send notifications to users when there’s a spike in Tinder usage in their area. The feature is designed to allow Tinder to better capitalize on real-world events that drive increased usage – like music festivals, parties, or spring break holidays, for example.”
Tinder admits it hasn’t been strong on gender diversity outside of North America. (Tinder says it didn’t have the right “tools until now.) But it announced last week that for the Indian market “no matter how you identify, you can express your authentic self on Tinder . . . To edit or add more information about your gender on Tinder, simply edit your profile. When you tap ‘I Am’ and select ‘More’ you can type a word that describes your gender identity. You can also select to be shown in searches which best reflect your identity.”
Such good news . . . Instagram has introduced “three new ways to discover new products, shop from your favorite brands and keep track of all your shopping inspiration in one place on Instagram.” You can save to your ‘Shopping’ collection, ‘Shop’ on business profiles to view all the products featured in the brands shopping posts, and shop right in brand videos. Okay, that’s a lot of ‘shop’ and ‘shopping’ , and I was kidding that this is ‘good news’.
TikTok is an app launched in China that allows users to create dance, music, lipsync, beauty, trend, food, and pet videos between 15 and 60 seconds long, as well as live broadcast. With 500 million users globally, and 6 million of those in the U.S. ,TikTok is getting a boost in North America as “more celebrities are joining the app, which allows people to upload their own videos using a variety of editing tools and filters. Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk have both recently joined, using the app to participate in current trends and try to connect with a larger audience.”
(Update — 23.11.18 . . . According to Econsultancy, TikTok “as now been downloaded more than 80 million times in the US, where it is currently the top free app in the Apple App Store. Nearly 4m of those downloads came in October alone, a 31% month-over-month leap that propelled downloads of TikTok past those of the Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube apps.”)
Facebook is thinking of adding more to Messenger’s arsenal (while trying to hide from the NYT’s scrutiny). Code diggers have noticed in Messenger’s a ‘Watch Videos Together’ feature similar to what FB added to Facebook Groups earlier this year. According to The Verge the code reveals that if you add a video in Messenger “you’ll be able to ping the person (or group of people) in your Messenger thread so you can watch it at the same time. Presumably, Facebook is planning to support this feature for videos that are hosted on Facebook, which means that you probably won’t be able to use this for, say, hosting a remote movie night with your friends on Netflix.”