All posts in “social media”

Instagram is testing another killer feature that could crush Snapchat even more

Image: lili sams/mashable

Instagram is not slowing down in 2018.

After Instagram crushed Snapchat — seriously, pounded the app into the ground — last year with its own disappearing Stories feature, the Facebook-owned app is now secretly testing a new “Type” feature that’ll let users share text-based clips instead of photos or videos.

The Next Web first spotted the feature back in December when it rolled out to a select group of private users in Japan, and now it appears Instagram is testing it on some users in Europe as well.

Mashable reached out Instagram and received the following statement from a company spokesperson:

“We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you.”

At least one Twitter user also noticed the new feature on a friend’s phone:

According to the report, the Type feature shows up as an option alongside the usual features like Boomerang, Superzoom, and Rewind. As you can see in the video below, the feature also comes with several fonts to pick from, including one in neon cursive:

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WABetaInfo has posted several screenshots of the Type feature in action. One of the fonts, “Typerwriter,” also has an alignment tool.

When the Type feature is selected, users will reportedly get a gradient background for their text-based stories. Alternatively, they’ll also be able to use a photo for a background.

Though the feature is reportedly meant to encourage users to share more text-based clips, it’s unclear how it would be significantly different from simply taking a photo and using the existing text tool to add words on top.

WABetaInfo also reports that Instagram is testing a new screenshot notification that’ll send an alert to users when someone has taken a screenshot of their IG Story. Interestingly enough, the feature only gives you a warning after your first screenshot. Subsequent screenshots will sound the alarms.

“The next time you take a screenshot of a story, the person who posted it will be notified,” warns the alert.

Snapchat has a similar feature that lets you see who screenshotted your Snapchat Story and DMs.

As an Instagram Stories addict, who umm, “broke” it during a trip to Japan last year, Type and the screenshot notification would be welcome additions to the app. That said, just because the feature’s being tested on select users doesn’t mean it’ll ever be made widely available for all users. Instagram frequently tests new features that never make it out of the trial runs.

Even if the feature never makes it out of the beta tests, Snapchat should be worried. Instagram is iterating and adding new features at an insanely fast rate. If Snapchat doesn’t hit back this year with some sweet new features, its remaining users may flock to Instagram and never look back.

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5 social media skills you need to get ahead (and where to learn them)

Image: Pixabay

In 2018, social media is life. But is it also your career? It can be. With everyone and their mom using social media, it’s no surprise that careers in the space are on the rise. But a “career in social media” can mean many things. 

There are Social Media Coordinators that build brand awareness for companies while handling the occasional crazy customer freakout. There are Marketing Managers that fuel customer acquisition and retention for brands. And there are Social Media Celebs (i.e., your teenage YouTube millionaire). Let’s go ahead and rule out the latter, and note that this article will not explore how to become the next Cardi B.

Instead, let’s talk social media skills that are relevant in the 2018 job market — and how you can learn them without spending significant money. All of the skills listed below are taught in detail in the Pay What You Want Social Marketing Mastery Bundle. There will be more later on how awesome this “pay what you want deal” is — but in short, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

1. Facebook skills that make you (and your company) money

Way back in 2010, social media jobs were aplenty. Companies paid savvy millennials to make their brand look cool and give stuff away on Facebook. Today, only about 4% of Facebook followers see a brand’s organic (non-paid) posts. Companies are understandably shifting their resources towards what works: customer acquisition and retention via paid Facebook ads. 

This Social Marketing Bundle includes six courses focused on the complex world of Facebook marketing: from how to create a Facebook ad campaign to how to optimize creative for conversion. You’ll learn how to get the lowest cost per click possible and how to optimize your spend. Whether your future company is looking to generate B2B leads or sell products via e-commerce, these are the types of skills that will make you bank.

And if you’re thinking “but six courses?!” C’monnnn, you can do it. There’s a ton of stuff to know before you go spending a company’s money!

2. Driving traffic through Google AdWords

It’s only natural that the next skill relates to the other half of the online duopoly: Google. A Google Ad strategy is key to any contemporary marketing program, and a skilled professional knows how to build and run effective campaigns. Two included courses, Google AdWords Business Training and The Complete Google AdWords Course, will teach you to identify profitable keywords and optimize campaigns for success.

3. Don’t ignore Snapchat

Gen Z, the Snapchat Generation, is finally entering the workforce and represents up to $143 billion in buying power. This change is leading marketing trend analysts to believe that Snap is about to get a lot more relevant to money-hungry brands and companies looking to invest in paid social spend. We may see some reallocation of that mega Facebook spend to this important platform, and you’ll want your skills to be ahead of the game. The included course, Snapchat For Business: Grow Your Brand & Reach More Followers, delivers a blueprint that will make you confident in adding “Snap Expert” to your résumé right in time.

4. Embrace video as a medium

Facebook’s video favoritism is only part of the reason for the rise of video (albeit a big part). There’s no question that audiences are engaging more with video, and that any well-rounded marketing strategy should consider that. Throughout the bundle, you’ll learn how to incorporate video into your social media strategy, including using Periscope’s live broadcasts to bump engagement.

5. Data, data, data

The best candidate for any marketing position is a data-driven candidate. From Facebook persona targeting to AdWord strategy, the courses throughout the bundle will touch on how to remain consistently data-driven. Listen, learn, and make sure to emphasize this keyword when you hit the market.

If you were paying attention, you know that you can learn all these skills in one place: the Pay What You Want Social Marketing Mastery Bundle. Here’s how it works: pay any price at all starting at $1, and you’ll get lifetime access to two of the included courses. Beat the average price, and you’ll get all 15 courses. The best news of all is that this is a brand new bundle, so that average price is the lowest it will ever be. It’s the right place at the right time (at the right price) — so don’t wait to make a career change into social media.

TV channel Spike is no longer, so its social media manager had a field day

Bye, Spike.
Bye, Spike.

Image: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Better to go out with a bang than a whimper, we guess.

TV channel Spike is going to be rebranded as the Paramount Network on Thursday, as owner Viacom looks to general entertainment programming on the 34-year old basic cable network.

So, as the days become numbered, Spike’s social media presence has decided to well, not really care anymore. 

We don’t know if this Twitter-led meltdown is all Viacom-approved (look, we’re sure it is), but it’s not everyday a TV channel ceases to exist for good.

Spike’s early programming was geared towards men, with shows like Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) and combat sports like Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). 

Also they had easy abbreviations, because Spike’s staffers apparently couldn’t read.

And didn’t hide behind how many times it showed COPS every damn night.

Farewell, Spike. It’s been real.

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Talking about #MeToo on social media is hard, but we shouldn’t stop trying

When news broke late Saturday that the actor and comedian Aziz Ansari had been accused of sexual misconduct, I had plenty of thoughts but didn’t feel compelled to share a single one of them on social media. 

I partly blame my naturally cautious personality for that; I like to know exactly what I believe before I put it out into the world. But I also watched my timeline on Facebook and Twitter become a deluge of impassioned comments and hot takes. I didn’t want to wade into the churn just yet. I imagine I’m not alone. 

The truth is that talking about #MeToo on social media is challenging work. When we move beyond the declarations of empowerment and must instead analyze the particulars of every case, things get messy. That complexity isn’t easily captured in 280 characters, and comments on even the most thoughtful Facebook post can be hijacked by one grandstanding person who wants to play devil’s advocate. 

Meanwhile, the Ansari case may be the most difficult public conversation we’ve had about sex, power, and consent since Harvey Weinstein’s downfall in October. An actor beloved in part for his “woke bae” bona fides, Ansari wasn’t revealed by the website Babe as a violent serial predator but a sexually aggressive man who read a young woman’s verbal and nonverbal discomfort with his behavior as enthusiasm. 

And so we began debating on social media whether this woman’s encounter could be categorized as sexual assault, as she suggested, or a terrible date, as many others argued. 

I can think of no worse place to have this conversation than on social media. Victim-blaming can go viral. Hot takes (ahem, Atlantic and New York Times) consume all the oxygen in the proverbial room until everyone is rage-choking on the fumes. You can end up reflexively refreshing to see the latest tweet but do very little reflection of your own. 

Yet I also can’t think of a mainstream alternative that allows people to engage in a public reckoning like this, even on a small scale. Some students may discuss the subject in class today, but most adults won’t participate in those conversations. I can only imagine the watercooler whispers at many workplaces — this is not the kind of news that employees feel comfortable openly chatting about. Cable news is a one-way format; you often nod your head in agreement or shout at the TV screen, but you never get to speak your piece to the viewers at home. 

For better or worse, social media is our best shot at collectively having complex discussions about painful and taboo subjects. The good news is that all hope for enlightened dialogue is not lost. Many of the widely shared comments on Ansari’s case hinged on a nuanced perspective, which is not something social media typically rewards. 

Feminist author Jessica Valenti kept emphasizing the importance of nuance when thinking about the implications of what happened between “Grace” (the anonymous moniker given to the 23-year-old woman in Babe’s story) and Ansari. 

“I’m sure we’re going to hear lots of stories in the coming months about actions that aren’t against the law, or that don’t warrant repercussions,” she wrote in one tweet. “That doesn’t mean that women weren’t hurt, or that these stories aren’t worth discussing[.]” 

Even if the account that was published by Babe contained deeply flawed reporting and writing, as some have persuasively argued, the report itself offered an opportunity to address the cycle of appeasement and shame that women so often find themselves in when trying to turn down a man’s sexual advances. 

Writer David Klion, whose comments about Ansari went viral, framed the accusations against Ansari as about something more than the Hollywood celebrity — they are instead a chance to come to terms with one’s views of #MeToo. 

“The Aziz Ansari story is a good litmus test for who sees sexual misconduct as a strictly legal question and who is concerned about improving the overall culture surrounding sex and dating,” he wrote. 

The surprising key to the success of these tweets isn’t outrage for the sake of outrage, but a deep commitment to an interest in how we move forward in the age of #MeToo. And while many bemoaned the change when Twitter increased the character limit from 140 to 280 back in November, the best threads on the Ansari case frequently contained long messages. Brevity may be best when you’re sharing breaking news, but those constraints hinder our ability to speak thoughtfully about how to change human behavior. 

There is no right way to talk about #MeToo on social media. But if the debate that’s taken place since the news broke about Ansari holds any clues, commentary that invites respectful dialogue can play an essential role in framing the broader conversation. That can also provide a refreshing contrast to lengthy essays and opinion pieces that may in fact further stoke anger rather than deliberation. 

We can also surprisingly look to Ansari himself for some guidance. While he didn’t comment on social media about the Babe report, his statement about the accusations acknowledged Grace’s account, conveyed a sense of regret and concern, and even urged further conversation about #MeToo. 

“I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture,” he said. “It is necessary and long overdue.” 

If Ansari can sit with the discomfort of being the subject of an exposé about his sexual conduct and still encourage a continued discussion about sex and power, the rest of us can find a way to actually have that civil dialogue online. 

If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org.

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Americans say social media is destroying the news — but nobody knows what to do about it

Social media truly is bringing Americans together… in our frustration over social media giants. 

Americans are fed up with the role that big tech companies now play in the news media, according to a new study from the Knight Foundation and Gallup. 

Maybe worse — we’re enormously conflicted on what to do about that.

On Tuesday, the Knight Foundation and Gallup published a sweeping study about the public’s perception of the media — including tech companies — and its role in politics and society. 

Entitled “American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy,” the study surveyed 19,196 Americans over the age of 18 about their news consumption habits, the extent that they believe the media is important to a democracy, whether they believe the media is succeeding in informing the public, how the proliferation of online news sources is contributing to their consumption of current events, the extent of the problem of fake news, and more. 

Many of the study’s statistical findings basically support what we’re all experiencing: a massive amount of vitriol and suspicion directed towards the press, the breakdown of faith in objective facts and reporting, the proliferation of partisanship across the board.

There’s one thing Americans agree on: everyone’s got to do better.

For all of these factors, the study compares differing opinions and behaviors across demographics like race, age, political views, party affiliation, and education. 

“I think it’s particularly sobering not just for media organizations, but for all of the organizations that are helping people become informed, including the major technology gatekeepers like Facebook and Twitter and Google,” said Brandon Busteed, a partner in Gallup’s government division.

The 2017 Gallup-Knight Foundation report on Trust, Media and Democracy was co-funded by the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Open Society Foundation. It was completed as part of the Knight Foundation’s Trust, Media and Democracy initiative.

Image: Gallup/knight foundation

Things get interesting when the study’s authors dig into the role social media and tech companies are playing in the public’s perception of the news. The study looked at how people use and feel about social media, and how people think social media should function as part of the news ecosystem. 

The picture their findings paint is one of conflicted ambivalence. But there’s finally one thing Americans agree on: everyone’s got to do better.

The echo chamber

Within social sharing sites, the study found that people share news knowing that most people they’re sharing a piece of news with will agree with it. People are aware that social media can and does further entrench partisan beliefs; however, they do see that as a problem: 57 percent of people say associating only with people who hold similar beliefs to yours is a “major problem.”

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Delete ur account

Americans have an overall negative opinion of how Facebook and other social media sites are affecting the trustworthiness of the news. 

Furthermore, social media use itself has a corrosive effect: the more a demographic engages with social media, the less faith they have in the media as a whole. The largest group that has an unfavorable view of the news media is 18-29 year olds, who, surprise surprise, get their news the most from social feeds.

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Americans also believe that, thanks to technological developments, the proliferation of available news sources  is confusing them more than informing them. That finding skews conservative, but is consistent in terms of age.

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Sam Gill, Knight’s vice president for communities and impact, said that this was one of the study’s most surprising findings for him.

“An implicit core tenet of our democracy is that the more information we have access to, the more likely we are to get to the truth, to make better decisions,” Gill said. “At a time when we have as much information as we’ve ever had, we find it’s harder today to be informed than in the past. And I think that’s something that should give us pause.”

Where do we go from here? America says: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Facebook, Google, and Twitter have been in political hot water for how Russian hackers were able to manipulate their sites in order to influence the election. And while some members of Congress have expressed strong opinions about the need to regulate social media’s role in the news because of these controversies, American citizens aren’t so sure. 

Not only are Americans split on whether these companies should or shouldn’t be regulated — 49 percent for, 47 percent against — extreme splits are consistent within the demographics themselves.

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Survey respondents are also unsure about whether institutions or individuals are responsible for media objectivity, trust, and accountability. Half think it’s up to us to parse fact from opinion, to ensure “people have an accurate and politically balanced understanding of the news.” The other half want to put their faith in news organizations.

Image: Gallup/knight foundation

“People are mixed, or ambivalent, about who should play a role, who’s most responsible,” Busteed said. “This may be an issue that’s so important that we all feel responsibility, or we feel everybody has a responsibility, so that becomes the collective commons issue of, if we all feel responsible, how do we each act individually?”

So what?

Reading through the Gallup/Knight study, the numbers seem to confirm the sorry state of affairs the media is in, that we can feel in our guts, and our newsfeeds.

But Sam Gill is optimistic.

“People recognize the profound role that this technology plays in their lives, but are unclear, again, about what the rules and the norms ought to be,” Gill said “That’s a fantastic opportunity, hopefully, for a conversation about solutions that can cross sectors, or cross many of the divides that make other issues intractable.”

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