Social media

Social media has become an indispensable part of our business and personal lives. With so much happening in the tech sector, it’s not always easy to keep up to speed on all the latest developments. That’s why in this article I’m going to give you a rundown of five social media developments in 2016 that you may have missed.

Facebook Live

The world’s largest social network is constantly working on new ways to boost interaction, business marketing and overall engagement. Facebook Live was launched back in the spring in an effort to integrate video, publishers’ content and the youth market – the three cornerstones of the latest social media business development. Live is Facebook’s version of Twitter’s Periscope and Snapchat’s video sharing. It allows you to stream video not just from people within your social network, but from celebrities, news organizations and anyone else who uses the service.

Facebook Instant Articles

Mark Zuckerberg and Co are at it again with Facebook Instant Access, a tool that gives publishers a single tool for posting and disseminating their content to the web. Publishers looking to use Instant Articles must provide an RSS feed of their content to Facebook in a form that most content management systems support. The idea here is to create a faster and more streamlined approach to publishing articles in the Facebook News Feed. Facebook has already started testing Instant Articles, and is looking to expand this offering to a wider audience very soon.

The social networking site has actually introduced a lot more lesser-known features to its site, but we’ll save those for a future article.

Twitter’s 140-Character Limit Loophole

Over the past decade, Twitter has become synonymous with the 140-character count that defines the limit for each and every post you make. Whether you’re Elon Musk or some average Joe looking to tweet back at Kim Kardashian, you are strictly governed by the 140-character limit. That’s until Twitter announced that very soon media such as images, polls and videos that are part of tweets will no longer count against the 140-character limit. The same loophole would apply to Twitter handles when tagging someone or responding to their tweet. In the Twittersphere, this is huge. Websites that have made a living counting tweet characters may soon have to upgrade their algorithms.

LinkedIn’s Chat-Style Interface

LinkedIn is the world’s biggest professional network, but that doesn’t mean it can’t promote more casual interaction. That’s exactly what it intended to do when it ditched its old email-like messaging interface and replaced it with something a lot more like Facebook Messenger. LinkedIn has effectively “introduced a new chat-style interface to allow for easy back and forth messaging.” Whether you’re chatting with an old colleague or connecting with a recruiter, this new platform should make the conversation run much more smoothly. Although this won’t prevent you from creating long, boring email-type messages, it should at least encourage you to be much more succinct without getting overly casual. After all, “Hey” is never an appropriate way to reach out to recruiters!

With LinkedIn recently being acquired by Microsoft, users can expect a lot more upgrades to the professional network in the near term. Depending on how you feel about Microsoft, this is either very good or very bad!

Instagram Stories

Last week Instagram announced its new feature, Instagram Stories, which allows users to share all the moments of their day. This includes moments you don’t want to keep on your profile. While this has raised some concerns about oversharing, Instagram has assured its more than 500 million users that Stories will not be akin to over-posting. “As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format,” Instagram said in a post. The new feature allows you to share as many updates as you want throughout the day before disappearing after 24 hours. It kind of makes you wonder what the point of all of this is, unless it’s to give teens even more reason to take selfies and snap pictures of their dessert. Cool, I guess!

The world of social media is constantly evolving as brands look for innovative new ways to increase user engagement. Companies like Twitter have struggle to grow their active users, while LinkedIn is facing challenges of its own walking that fine line between professionalism and being overly social. Facebook also has received a lot of complaints about its advertising program and the lack of ROI for businesses. These and other challenges will likely necessitate even more innovations in these and other social media channels. The battle for users’ divided attention continues to grow.

By Charli Day, writer and social media manager