Social networking sites/apps are constantly churning out new updates, from minor bug fixes to major roll-outs, but the small changes are nothing new to the avid social media user. It’s the more major updates and news about different platforms, however, that usually gets people talking. So, let’s talk social media!
Instagram’s Newest Feature
Instagram’s newest and maybe most controversial update, the photo album feature, has had users buzzing over the past two days. The folks at Instagram recently tested out the new feature on the Android app beta version with the roll-out to all iOS and Android users following shortly after (Instagram releasing an official announcement on February 22). So what is this update that has everyone talking? The photo album feature allows users to share multiple photos and videos in one post, and by multiple, I mean up to 10. Sound familiar? You won’t be surprised that this seems just like parent company Facebook’s photo albums function. As most social networking sites do, Instagram has grown with and adopted features of competing apps over the years, for example stories (Snapchat) or live-streaming (Facebook), in order to stay relevant, but is this new update a shift in the wrong direction?
While I prefer to leave the photo albums on Facebook, a few friends have pointed out the benefits of this function, especially for the blogging and vlogging community. YouTube beauty vlogger LuxeRae told me that she believes posting multiple photos will help to keep engagement alive and keep bloggers and vloggers’ feeds active, which is hard to disagree with. While Rae’s sister Rizza (owner of Yvette & Joseph) agrees, she also adds, “There’s a fine line between oversharing and being engaging, which I think a lot of bloggers have a hard time figuring out. I don’t know if this update is just a way around oversharing without really curating.” What are your thoughts on the changes Instagram has made?
The Twitter Diet
If you’re anything like its other users, you probably spend your time on Twitter retweeting funny memes, mentioning celebs hoping they’ll notice you, making up funny hashtags and complaining about how you just spilled coffee on your white pants in 140 characters or less. Recent studies have shown, however, that researchers can predict much more from your tweets than your political affiliation. You know that girl or guy you always roll your eyes at for sharing their #TransformationTuesday or #FitFam posts? Now it’s their turn to do the eye-rolling.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have claimed that they can predict dieting success with 77 percent accuracy based on words and phrases that people use on Twitter. Those positive phrases and fitness goals that people tweet that you think are corny? They’re actually keeping the Tweeters more liable and enabling them to be more socially interactive, leading to stronger support systems which Assistant Professor Munmun De Choudhury says, “positively impact the likelihood of dieting compliance.” They’ve also found the opposite to be true, sharing that unsuccessful dieters seem to have low self-esteem because they don’t share their accomplishments, have less social support, and express more negative emotion in their tweets. So, does this mean you can still maintain a successful diet if you’re tweeting about carrots while scarfing down a pizza? No, but tweeting about and sharing your healthy habits with others on social media may just be the nudge you need to finally kick those bad dieting habits! For more info, check out the full study here.
The status on WhatsApp statuses
Because we talked about Instagram’s newest (strikingly similar to Facebook) feature, we have to talk about WhatApp’s as well. Announced earlier this week, WhatsApp Status allows users to upload photos and videos as opposed to the text only status option that was previously available. It seems that this is yet another update that has been inspired by Snapchat’s story feature.
Similar to Snapchat, a WhatsApp story is viewable for 24 hours, users can post a single status update or a series of updates, can see how many people have viewed their status and who has seen it, and can reply to other WhatsApp statuses with a snap of their own. Although this seems like an unnecessary update to many people, WhatsApp says the update is a reaction to changes in how people are using the app. “When we noticed people were using the feature to communicate in real time, we redesigned WhatsApp as a messaging app,” WhatsAppp CEO Jan Koum wrote.
Is Facebook’s newest venture a TV app? According to Forbes, it seems that this may be the case so get ready for Facebook to shove its original (and potentially ad-focused) content into your timeline, folks!
Pinterest recently introduced a new visual discovery tool called Lens, which uses machine vision to detect objects in the real world and suggest related items on its site. As its still in the beta stages, Pinterest says that Lens works best for finding home decor ideas, clothing items and food inspo but as it expands, users should expect the technology to develop.
Is social media driving Americans insane? It doesn’t take a bunch of psychologists to figure that one out but I’ll take their word for it anyway. Last week the APA released an intensive and interesting study on social media users, citing that constant social media checkers reported an average stress level of 5.3, while for the rest of Americans the average level is a 4.4. You can stress yourself out by reading the rest of their findings via Bloomberg here.
And on that note, I’m all social media-d out. Happy Friday!