Social media is an ever-changing animal that brings about new trends, wants and needs everyday. Trends are not dictated by brands or social media entities, but by the users themselves. And while the adage that “content is king” still holds true for the most part, it is not content that can just be read: it lives, moves and breathes. In other words, pictures and videos are the content that rule the social media stratosphere as of this moment. The new updates on social media apps testify to this as well.
Facebook has been at the forefront of the social media revolution for the past years, but sometimes, when it comes to updating its features, it takes them a while to get what the public wants. Just two weeks ago, they finally allowed the embedding of videos into the chat threads in their Messenger app. This has been a great feature that other messenger apps like Viber, Line and WeChat have been doing for some time now, and finally, Facebook has joined the party. Users can even access their phone's camera feature from inside the Messenger app, so they can record their reactions to their friends’ messages by using the front-facing camera. Of course, given the ephemeral nature of pictures and videos nowadays, the embedded video can only be 15 seconds long.
Speaking of videos that only last for a few seconds, the pioneering video sharing app Vine has also revamped the look and features of its app, giving the users even more information about the videos on their feed as well as their uploaded videos. It now shows the loop counts for each video, which means it tells you how many times it has been viewed in real time. The new look also gives a simpler look for the likes and comments on the users’ videos, to let them know how much influence they have had in the Vine world.
YouTube has also realised that content creators and managers need an even more convenient way of navigating through their channels in a mobile setting. Just last week, they launched a YouTube Creator Studio specifically for channel managers and creators. It lets them view stats, view and respond to comments easier (a challenge that social media managers trudge through daily), edit the videos’ details and settings on the go, and manages push notifications as well. Giving this much control over to content creators is one of the best ways to keep them loyal to your social media brand.
When it comes to picture sharing, Facebook has to keep updated with the latest trends if it still wants to remain relevant. Two weeks ago, they launched a new photo-sharing app called Slingshot, which is probably their answer to Snapchat (more on them later). But the twist that they put to the “disappearing photo” trend is that after you “sling a shot” or in layman’s term, send a picture to your chosen friend or group of friends, they have to send you back a picture before they can view your sling. It gives a whole new twist to this photo-sharing phenomenon, but only time will tell if this will even catch on.
But Snapchat also wants to be known not just as the pioneer in sharing racy photos that disappear from your phone in a snap (unless someone screencapped it of course) but as a photo collaborating network as well. Last month, they introduced the Our Story feature where people who are at a single event can share their pictures to build a whole narrative. If their My Story feature was all about shared personal narratives, then Our Story is about a larger community of people who want to share their memories of an event where they were present.
Now all of these cool, new features from these social media entities are supposedly based on extensive research on what the consumers really want when it comes to creating and sharing content. Gone are the days when brands are the ones pushing their messages on us, and we just received them passively. Thanks to these apps and content platforms, consumers have the power to make brands listen. Now let’s see if they really were paying attention.