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We’ve read some of this week’s highlights in social news and created “TL;DR” versions! Check the stories out below and be the smartest person at happy hour: First things first, Facebook had a busy week quietly shutting down apps and closing up shop on their Creative Labs.

Elaborate,  please:

  • The company removed Rooms, Slingshot & Rifs and shut down their Creative Labs that were aimed at its employees creating new technologies
  • Many of the apps in development had not been received well – typically as “rip offs” of other apps, so they never achieved a wider reach
  • If you already have the apps – don’t worry. They’re still available for you to use.

What does this mean for brands?

  • Brands may be able to use Facebook as a single platform solution, rather than jumping on the latest and greatest.
  • For example, Facebook released its live streaming capability this week, which could rival Periscope, a live streaming capability that Twitter has been hanging its hat on since its acquisition
  • Okay, back to the live streaming thing!

    What does this mean for brands?

    • If successful, this move could make Periscope and Meerkat obsolete; businesses creating content on those platforms would have to refocus their efforts on Facebook
    • So far Facebook has not indicated that these streams will come with ads, but this may be coming soon
    • Brands will also be able to ‘save’ their content to publish to their Facebook feed – an option that previously was not available, this can provide a long tail solution to the livestream

    Anything else?

    Twitter was also busy this week putting out content and changing their platform in a multitude of ways

    Like what?

    • Twitter announced its biggest “moments” of 2015! These moments were retweeted and hashtagged about thousands of times
    • They include many emotionally charged events such as the #parisattacks and #marriageequality ruling, as well as things that were more fun like #thedress that captured the nation’s attention (this blogger still can only see white and gold) and Caitlin Jenner joining the platform breaking the Guinness World Record for fastest time to gain1 million followers

    What does this mean for brands?

    • These moments pull a lot of people into conversations. When brands can choose the correct things to weigh in on in a fun way it shows that the brand is culturally aware and real-time savvy
    • On the flip side, if a brand is seen to be using tragedy to promote itself or doesn’t properly research a trend before utilizing the hashtag it can be a PR nightmare!

    Twitter also announced that photographs would no longer be cropped in people’s timelines.

    What does this mean for brands?

    • Twitter now is on the same page as Facebook and Instagram, where both platforms also prevent ‘auto cropping.’
    • This will make Twitter a better platform to advertise on as there is less chance of any *embarrassing* or image ruining cropping
    • The reinstated CEO changes have led to positive trends for the company and there could be a closing of the “user gap” between the two platforms if these changes are successful

    That’s all for this week! Stop by next week for another round up and be sure to like us on Facebook so you never miss a post.

    Facebook Introduced 360-Degree Videos

    Facebook rolled out 360-degree videos to increase the exchange of more immersive content on the platform. A special set of cameras, which record a scene from all 360 degrees simultaneously, is used to create these videos. When the video is shared on Facebook, you can play it from any angle. This way you can get not only the front view but also what’s going on the sides. Simply drag around the video with your cursor on the web or drag the video with your finger on the mobile devices to view the 360-degree video. You can also hold up your phone and the 360 video will follow you as you turn, giving you an experience as if you were in the video yourself.

    This feature is great to share personal experiences with family or friends as well as a great tool for businesses. Brands can share more interactive messages using the 360 videos for an enhanced effect on various stakeholders. Star Wars, LeBron James, GoPro, and Discovery are some of the publishers who are already sharing 360 videos on Facebook.

    Facebook users on the web and Android would soon be able to see their News Feed populate with 360 videos. This feature will roll out in the next few months for iOS users as well.

    Are you excited to see and share 360 videos on Facebook? Share your thoughts with us.

    Learn more about it from Facebook.

    Blog-72-Facebook-360-Videos1 Facebook’s 360-Degree Videos, Fancred’s Live Commentary, and More

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    Fancred Lets You Become a Live Commentator

    Boston based social network for sports, Fancred, announced the addition of the live commentary feature to their platform. The update allows you to live stream videos with your commentary and share with your friends. Fancred intends to capture fan fervor during sporting events and allow them to broadcast the videos to other fellow fans in real time. The time limit for the Fancred videos is five minutes. And like many other social platforms, the content is ephemeral and lasts only for the duration of the broadcast. For this initiative, Fancred has partnered with various sports teams and media sources, like The Boston Globe, The Boston Red Sox, and Liverpool FC.

    We expect to see sports brands exploit this platform to the fullest in the near future. Brand ambassadors can engage with consumers and the general public to increase brand visibility and garner enthusiasm around a particular sport.

    Have you tried writing commentary with Fancred? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-73-Fancred Facebook’s 360-Degree Videos, Fancred’s Live Commentary, and More

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    Pingpad Debuted Mobile-Centric Tools for Collaboration

    Group tasks become much easier if we collaborate well and share responsibility. For significant collaboration, clear communication is the key. Keeping this in mind, Ross Mayfield launches his idea for “the next great productivity app,” called Pingpad.

    Pingpad lets users create groups, share notes and lists, send messages, and create tasks and assignments. The app is designed around shared documents and the company aims to keep innovating to let you streamline all your group work in one place. Pingpad is great for collaboration in personal and professional groups and the service is free of cost.

    What makes Pingpad different is that unlike most other collaboration tools, this takes into account the increasing mobile usage of users. For internal communication in organizations, this can be a useful tool. Employees working on a single project can securely exchange notes and files and keep track of the updates via their mobile phones.

    What are your thoughts on team communication? We would love to hear your thoughts!

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-74-Pingpad-Collaboration Facebook’s 360-Degree Videos, Fancred’s Live Commentary, and More

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    Facebook Introduced Temporary Profile Pics

    It is often said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and Facebook users tend to agree — which is why the profile picture often reflects special moments in a user’s life. More recently, profile pictures have also been used for large social movements to drive change. In order to reflect this user-driven trend, Facebook created a filter for the Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriage. Many users jumped up to show their support through their profile photos, and over time, many users began to change their profile pictures back to their previously-used images. Now Facebook wants to make the process even easier to reflect the zeitgeist without user’s manually changing their images with the introduction of the Temporary Profile Picture. The TPP allows you to change your profile photo when you want it to show your stance on a particular topic, but revert it to a previous or new image after a predetermined number of hours, days, or weeks.

    This feature brings with it an element of recency as profile pictures uploaded for a particular cause or movement can become less relevant over time for some users. Some might argue that this is a shallow way to support a cause, especially one that has taken years to accomplish, but for many users it’s meant to simplify their Facebook experience. For brands this is especially relevant as they will be able to show their support of causes but still keep on their brand-messaging as events, launches or other related moments arise. The ability to change the profile picture for a cause will not only portray brands as showing concern for causes they believe in, but also humanize their brands further. The temporary profile picture is currently available to a small set of Facebook users, and is set to be rolled out broadly to more users in the future.

    What are your thoughts on the Temporary Profile Picture?

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-69-Facebook-Pictures Facebook’s Temporary Profile Pics, BuzzSumo’s Facebook Page Analysis Feature, and More

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    BuzzSumo Introduced Facebook Page Analysis Feature

    BuzzSumo launched a Facebook analytics tool, SumoRank, that provides insights into your and others’ pages. Simply enter the page you want to analyze, click Submit, and then SumoRank gathers all the information for you.

    SumoRank, which is free to use, helps develop brand strategy based on collected insights. With SumoRank, users can get information about the best times and days to post for maximum engagement. Also, it provides engagement by post type and character count. Additionally, SumoRank provides a breakdown for average shares, likes, and comments. This yields insight into what’s working and what’s not for any given brand. Since the tool gives background about other pages, you can analyze pages of your competitors and modify strategy based on a useful insight, if needed.

    Have you tried SumoRank by BuzzSumo and analyzed your and your competitors’ pages? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by SocialMediaToday.

    Blog-70-BuzzSumo2 Facebook’s Temporary Profile Pics, BuzzSumo’s Facebook Page Analysis Feature, and More

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    Snapchat Introduced Face Effect Lenses and Multiple Replays

    Snapchat debuted its first in-app purchase – replays. For every three extra replays of the snaps you just watched, you have to pay $0.99. Along with it, Snapchat also launched a new feature called Lenses. This lets you add animations to your images. In selfie mode, Snapchat detects your face and you can tap and swipe to add animations over the image of your face.

    Snapchat’s recent update is an effort to prevent the brand from stagnation and stand ahead of the competition. The facial recognition technique used in Lenses is a result of the acquisition of Looksery by Snapchat. The various lenses available are Heart Eyes, Terminator, Puke Rainbows, Old, Scary, Rage Face, and Heart Avalanche. Lenses will break monotony from watching the usual images and Replays will allow viewing those jazzed-up images over and over again.

    Snapchat’s upgrade is an effort to keep the audience interested, especially the young demographic that Snapchat primarily targets. Brand can benefit from the new update if it’s relevant to their demographics and targets. Further, the replays option may be good for a brand and Snapchat collaboration in the future if there is a mystery that needs to be solved — there could be possibilities for brand monetization with Snapchat consumer use. We’ll have to wait and see.

    Have you had fun Snapchat’s face effects? What do you think about them? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-71-Snapchat-Face-Effects Facebook’s Temporary Profile Pics, BuzzSumo’s Facebook Page Analysis Feature, and More

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    Facebook Improves Mobile Layout for Pages

    Facebook updates the layout of Pages to attract businesses and encourage them to develop and improve their Facebook presence, with prominent Call-To-Action (CTA) prompts, new page sections for shopping and services, and an improved responsive layout.

    The CTA prompts now take up the entire width of the screen, just below the cover image, which makes them stand out from the rest of the content on the page. This is an effective way to remind the customers to take an action, for example, call to get more information or place an order. A new section with “Shop” and “Services” listings features Buy Buttons to facilitate shopping directly within the platform.

    Have you checked out the updated Pages? What do you think about this update from Facebook?

    Learn more about it from this article by SocialMediaToday.

    Blog-66-Facebook-Pages1 Facebook Improves Mobile Page Layout, Instagram’s 30-Sec Video Ads and More

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    Instagram Introduces 30-Second Video Ads for Marketers

    To appeal more to big brands and fetch more money from ads, Instagram rolls out 30-second video ads. The ads align with Instagram’s latest format update that allows portrait and landscape photos along with the traditional Instagram square. Since many television and online videos use the 30 second length, viewers might end up seeing same ads across media and platforms. Presently only available to bigger companies, this advertising option will soon be available to smaller companies in more than 30 countries, including Mexico, India, Spain, South Korea, and Italy.

    What is your opinion on using 30-second video ads on Instagram? Share your thoughts with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by SocialMediaToday.

    Blog-67-Instagram-Ads Facebook Improves Mobile Page Layout, Instagram’s 30-Sec Video Ads and More

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    Jazz Up Photos with Giffiti App

    Enhancing pictures by overlaying animations is the growing trend. A new app available on iOS, Giffiti, lets you add animations to your images. To use an animation on a photo, simply upload a photo from your camera roll and then select from over a 100 GIF cutouts to overlay on top. The app also lets you move and resize animations to appropriately fit the image, then share it via text or social networks.

    Have you tried Giffiti to jazz up your photos? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-68-Giffiti-App Facebook Improves Mobile Page Layout, Instagram’s 30-Sec Video Ads and More

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    Facebook Creates Music Videos from Photos in Moments App

    Facebook Moments, the recently launched photo-sharing app by Facebook, expands to include videos. With the aim of getting friends to send each other their group photos that are sometimes lost due to the long winding sharing process, the app’s latest update creates a musical video out of your shared photos and lets you customize, personalize, and share it.

    For a group of any six or more photos, Facebook Moments now creates a music video with options for changing the background, adding music and over a dozen different options. The updated Facebook Moments is available for download on the App Store and Google Play in most countries and in 34 languages.

    Have you tried Facebook Moments latest music video feature? What do you think about it?

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-63-Facebook-Moments Facebook’s Music Videos in Moments App and Social Apps for Organizing Events and Competitive Photo-Sharing

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    Organize Hangouts with Friends Using Bash

    A group of UC Berkeley engineers launched a new app, Bash, to easily organize hangouts, meetups, and other events. The aim of Bash is to offer an easy alternative to sending emails and texts for organizing events, allowing you to post event details, invite friends and family, comment and easily RSVP. You can also track who’s attending an event & send out notifications or event updates to attendees.

    To access the app’s features, you need to sign up with your Facebook account and then confirm your phone number via text. If your invitees do not have Bash installed, you can send them an invite via text message that links to the web version of Bash where they can view the event details and send their confirmation, without even downloading the app. Presently available for iOS users only, the app will soon be rolled out to Android users.

    Have you tried out Bash for planning your events? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-64-Bash-App Facebook’s Music Videos in Moments App and Social Apps for Organizing Events and Competitive Photo-Sharing

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    Competitive Photo Sharing App. SocialBattles, Launches

    Two brothers, Andre and Sandro De Moraes, have launched a new iOS app called, SocialBattles. Similar to Instagram, instead of just posting pictures to your account you can actually socially compete for the most popular photos. To begin a battle, you click a photo, give it a title, then challenge your friend to upload a photo under the same title/theme, and finally compete against each other as others vote for their photo. The “world hashtag rankings” present in the app present you with the users with the most popular photos for a particular hashtag. The app’s competitive element seems to be addictive, already hooking some of its early users.

    Have you tried out SocialBattles? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-65-SocialBattles-App Facebook’s Music Videos in Moments App and Social Apps for Organizing Events and Competitive Photo-Sharing

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    Facebook Introduces “Live” Streaming

    Facebook launches “Live” video feature for streaming videos, but only for certain verified accounts. Celebrities and other select verified accounts can now start a live broadcast that is posted on their News Feed, watch comments in real-time, and make the recording permanently available for viewing or delete it after the streaming ends. This feature will allow people to connect with their large number of fans on Facebook, with commenting that is kept at a steady pace to make interacting easier. Facebook notifies you when your friends start watching a live broadcast and also notifies the broadcasting celebrity if any other verified account watches it.

    What do you think about “Live” video feature by Facebook? Share your thoughts with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-60-Facebook-Live Facebook’s “Live” Streaming, Wildcard’s Revived News-Reading App, and Snapchat’s Travel Mode

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    Wildcard Revives News-Reading App

    Launched later last year, Wildcard reincarnates itself to provide a more user-friendly news-reading experience. The app combines articles, photos, and videos about the most important stories of the day and other topics relevant to its users sourced from different publishers. Various sources for information gathering used by Wildcard include articles from blogs and newspapers, websites, and videos from YouTube and Vimeo.

    Stories are presented based on their overall importance relevance to the readers. You can follow news stories based on your interest, receive push notifications when there’s an update, and share the stories via other social platforms. The app is available on the App Store for anyone to try for free.

    Have you checked out Wildcard for reading news? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-61-Wildcard-App Facebook’s “Live” Streaming, Wildcard’s Revived News-Reading App, and Snapchat’s Travel Mode

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    Snapchat Introduces Data Saving Feature

    Snapchat introduces data saving feature with the new travel mode, helping users avoid expensive roaming charges or overcharges on data plans. This lets Snaps, Stories, and Discovery content to load only when you tap on them, rather than loading automatically when the app is opened. To activate the travel mode, tap on the Snapchat icon at the top of the camera, go into Settings and open Manage Additional Services, and toggle it on.

    Have you tried out Snapchat’s new travel mode? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-62-Snapchat-Data-Saving Facebook’s “Live” Streaming, Wildcard’s Revived News-Reading App, and Snapchat’s Travel Mode

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    Facebook Introduces New Security Checkup

    Facebook introduces an updated “Security Checkup” tool that provides users better security management for their Facebook accounts. Featured at the top of the News Feed, this security check leads you to a list of all devices and apps where you are logged-in once you click “Get Started”. This way you can easily remove any apps or suspicious devices from your account. Login Alerts, another feature of the new security system lets you know when anyone tries to log-in to your account from an unfamiliar device.

    The last part of the security checkup contains a list of tips on ways to improve your password as well as the option to change your password, if you deem necessary. This is yet another step by Facebook to assure you that your privacy is important to the company.

    Have you got your Facebook account checked using the new security checkup yet? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by Social Media Today.

    Blog-57-Facebook-Security Facebook’s New Security Checkup, Instagram on Hootsuite, and More

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    Hootsuite Integrates Instagram

    Hootsuite announces Instagram integration enabling users to schedule and publish content, monitor and engage with audiences, and create team workflows. To manage Instagram from your Hootsuite dashboard, simply add the Instagram account to your Hootsuite dashboard and set up streams to monitor and engage.

    Have you checked out Hootsuite for Instagram account management? What do you think about it?

    Learn more about it from this article by Social Media Today.

    Blog-58-Hootsuite-Instagram1 Facebook’s New Security Checkup, Instagram on Hootsuite, and More

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    Parents Rely on Social Media for Parenting Tips

    Social media is trending in every way and different sets are audience are using it to their benefit. A recent study by Pew Research Center on Americans of nearly 2,000 mothers and fathers, revealed that 75 percent with children under 18 years of age depended on parenting social media websites and groups for advice. The study also found that mothers were more supportive of other parents in comparison to fathers.

    In terms of the platforms that parents go to for parental advice, Facebook emerged as the most preferred one with 74 percent of the parents using it, followed by Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

    This study can be useful for brands that target parents, since they can determine which platforms to target and how to communicate effectively for better engagement.

    Do you actively use social media to get parenting tips? What platforms do you prefer? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from Pew or check out this article by Social Media Today.

    Blog-59-Parents-use-Social-Media Facebook’s New Security Checkup, Instagram on Hootsuite, and More

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    Yahoo Introduces Livetext Messaging App

    Yahoo introduces a new app called Livetext that allows you to share videos (without audio) and text. The company claims that it is “a new way to communicate that blends the immediacy, simplicity and ease of texting with the expressiveness of video, without the audio”, putting your messages and your friend’s reactions in real-time at the center of your conversation. The company’s Senior Director for Product Management, Arjun Sethi, says that the no-sound feature will allow people to use the app in any context, for example, a noisy location or a concert. Presently this app is available in a few countries, including Hong Kong, Ireland, Taiwan, U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, and France on iOS and Android devices.

    Have you checked out Yahoo Livetext? What do you think about it?

    Learn more about it from Yahoo or check out this article from TechCrunch.

    Blog-54-Yahoo-livetext1 Yahoo’s Livetext Messaging App, Twitter’s Event Targeting Features, and More

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    Twitter Introduces Easy Event Targeting Feature

    Twitter has announced a new way for advertisers to join conversations around major events with an event targeting feature. If you have a Twitter Ads account, you can now browse a calendar of the forthcoming events featuring information about the size and demographics of the Twitter audience for every event. This aims to make it easier for advertisers to select the best audience(s) for their brand when rolling out a campaign.

    Have you checked out this latest update from Twitter? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this TechCrunch article.

    Blog-55-Twitter-Event-Targeting Yahoo’s Livetext Messaging App, Twitter’s Event Targeting Features, and More

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    Facebook Makes Video Management Easier

    Facebook makes video management easier for Page owners by introducing better control features. Page admins now have better distribution and customization options like secret videos, audience restrictions, and expiration date. Along with this Facebook is introducing Video Library section under the Publishing Tools tab. This will enable Page owners to manage the entire video library content.

    Have you checked out these new features for video management from Facebook? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by Search Engine Journal.

    Blog-56-Facebook-Video-Management Yahoo’s Livetext Messaging App, Twitter’s Event Targeting Features, and More

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    Facebook Tests “Watch Later” Option for Videos

    Facebook is testing a “Watch Later” button for videos on desktop, aiming to engage more users by providing them with the option to save and watch videos later. Presently available to select users only, you can move your mouse over the video while it is still playing to access this feature and scrolling past a video also makes the button pop up. This feature can yield interesting data for marketers about the kind of videos that have the potential to make it to the users’ “Watch Later” list, even if they don’t make it to their instant viewing list.

    What do you think about this option? Share your thoughts with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-51-Facebook-Watch-Later Facebook’s “Watch Later” for Videos, Twitter’s Safety Center, and Instagram’s Web Search

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    Twitter Organizes Safety Center

    Twitter launches a Safety Center to meet the online safety issues and enhance its customer support. Three key tools were rolled out to increase safety: mute, block, and report and all the resources for online safety are available in one spot (http://safety.twitter.com) for easy access. Mute allows you to mute anyone you wish, whether someone who’s annoying you by continuously tweeting or defaming you in any way. Block completely cuts out a person from viewing or following you. Report feature allows you to report accounts that’re harassing, bullying, or threatening. The company also suggests that users should use strong passwords and two-step verification method (email address and phone number) to further secure their accounts.

    What do you think about these safety features from Twitter? Do you think they would make your Twitter experience more enjoyable? Share your thoughts with us.

    Learn more about it from Twitter or check out this article from TechCrunch.

    Blog-52-Twitter-Safety-Center Facebook’s “Watch Later” for Videos, Twitter’s Safety Center, and Instagram’s Web Search

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    Instagram Introduces Web Search

    Instagram introduces cross-platform experience by adding search to desktop. This enables you to search hashtags, profiles, and locations on the Instagram website (Instagram.com). For the moment, all content, however, must still be created on the mobile app. Along with the simple search, you can also view some of the top posts when you search hashtags or locations, since Instagram also created landing pages for hashtags and geotags.

    Have you checked out Instagram’s desktop search? Share your experience with us.

    Learn more about it from this TechCrunch article.

    Blog-53-Instagram-desktop Facebook’s “Watch Later” for Videos, Twitter’s Safety Center, and Instagram’s Web Search

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    Facebook Empowers Users With “See First”

    Facebook introduces a new way to choose which friends and pages you want to see on your News Feed. This control feature, presently rolled out only to iOS users in the U.S., is called “See First”. This feature lets you choose who appears most in your News Feed and gives you the options to unfollow or refollow them and discover pages based on your interests.

    “See first” ensures we never miss any updates from our close friends. The “Discover New Pages” section helps us customize our News Feed based on our interests, from using it as a news reader to a fashion digest. The introduction of this feature means that brands will have to come up with more relevant and interesting content so users can include their pages in the “See First” list.

    Have you decided whom you want to “See First”? Share your thoughts about this feature with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by TechCrunch.

    Blog-47-Facebook-See-First Facebook’s “See First” for News Feed Control, Twitter’s New Dashboard, and More

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    Twitter Introduces Dashboard

    Twitter is consistently introducing better features to increase its audience base. To further boost its appeal, Twitter introduces a dashboard to provide you with a better privacy check for your account. You can access the new dashboard from the settings menu in your Twitter account. The dashboard shows details about account activation, devices accessing the account, and recent login history. This makes it easier for you to verify your account’s privacy. You can also download your Twitter archives and manage contacts using the dashboard.

    Have you checked out Twitter’s new dashboard? Share your experiences with us.

    Learn more about it from Twitter.

    Blog-50-Twitter-new-dashboard Facebook’s “See First” for News Feed Control, Twitter’s New Dashboard, and More

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    Kids Prefer Mobile over TVs

    A recent study by Miner and Co. reveals that mobile devices are taking over televisions to become the preferred medium for watching videos among kids. This was reported by 57 percent of the 800 parents interviewed for the study. Parents also stated that taking away mobile devices and making children watch only television serves in some cases as a form of punishment. This study explains the reason behind the declining T.V. ratings, especially for kids’ programming.

    Do your kids also prefer mobiles over T.V. for watching videos? Share your experiences with us.

    Learn more about it from this article by Social Media Today.

    Blog-49-Kids-like-mobiles1 Facebook’s “See First” for News Feed Control, Twitter’s New Dashboard, and More

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