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This week in social: celebrities, influencers and new apps – oh my!

Vine turns three and launches trends page

Happy 3rd birthday, Vine! To kick of its third birthday celebrations, the company has unveiled its Year 3 collection containing the most-looped Vines of the past year, as well as other much-loved posts.

At the top of the collection is a Vine from a soccer match in Paris on the day of the November 15 attacks, where the sound of an explosion can be heard in the background.

As well as the collection offering, Vine has also launched its new Trends page. This is where users can discover which Vines are popular on the platform, and see just how they started.


Read more on SocialTimes.

Proof that influencers are here to stay – three YouTube personalities interview Obama

Riding on President Obama’s State of the Union address last week, three YouTube stars got up close and personal interviewing the president, proving once again that influencers are taking over the world.

Destin Sandlin, of the SmarterEveryDay channel, Ingrid Nilsen, known as Miss Glamorazzi, and Adande Thorne, who goes by sWooZie, each took turns grilling the President on topics like women’s issues, terrorism, healthcare, and his favorite “Star Wars” movie, in front of individual sets that YouTube created for them in the East Room of the White House.


Read more on Advocate.

WhatsApp goes free and promises to remain ad-free to boot

If you had a spare 99c, what would you spend it on? That question became very real last week when WhatsApp vowed to take away its “cover charge.”

The Facebook-owned messaging app announced: “As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year.”

With almost 1 billion users, the app now being free removes the barrier for millions more to join the service.

The company’s plan appears to be to generate revenue through services to businesses: “We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.”

Read more on the WhatsApp blog.

Celebrity engagement platform 5oosh launches on iOS and Android

Pronounced five-oosh, celebrity engagement platform 5oosh has dropped for iOS and Android users.

This new app gives celebs and influencers the chance to personally interact with fans by letting them bid in auctions for things like live video sessions, personalized video greetings or memorabilia.

Names like Sean Kingston, Corbin Bernsen and Jasmine Villegas have already signed up and there will no doubt be more to come.

Each celeb is compensated for the items or experiences they sell and they can choose to donate some or all of the proceeds to a charity or cause of their choice.

Read more on Social Times.

If it “Berns” when peek at social media, you are not alone

Facebook and Twitter have been aflame with Bernie Sanders content ever since the recent Democratic Debate in South Carolina.

Insights provider Engagement Labs reported that Sanders demonstrated the highest engagement of any candidate during the debate with his top Facebook post garnering more than 49,000 likes and 19,900 shares.

They also said that Sanders picked up 9,388 new Facebook likes and 14,711 new Twitter followers after the debate.

Sanders also maintained the highest active Twitter user base as well as the highest number of mentions, likes and retweets.

Read more on Social Times.

Study shows Instagram is now a pay-to-play platform

In its 2015 review, social analytics and reporting firm Locowise found that Instagram has gone from one of the most “viral” social networks, to a pay-to-play platform.

The firm found that, though the platform remained stronger than Facebook and Twitter when it came to follower growth and engagement, numbers still declined in 2015.

Findings included:

  • Follower growth was down in December from its peak in April
  • Engagement also peaked in April and had dropped by 61.43% by December

Image posts made up for 91.87% of posts, and engaged 1.1% of followers, while engagement slipped to 0.83% for video posts.


Read more on Locowise.

Location-based social network Yik Yak has launched on the web

Famous in college campuses, welcome to the anonymous, location-based social network that is Yik Yak.

What started as a mobile app that gave users a way to share Twitter-like messages anonymously and based on their location, has now made its debut on the web.

The blog post states: “The need for a web version of Yik Yak is obvious… when you don’t have cell service, or when you just want to be able to reply to a yak superfast and simply can’t type the worlds quickly enough on your touchscreen… we’re giving you the flexibility to yak away with your herd no matter if you’re on your phone or computer.”


Read more on TechCrunch.

All-inclusive messaging app Laserthread Chatwork launches on iOS

Thanks to Laserthread Chatwork, iOS users don’t need to worry about using multiple apps to communicate with all of their friends.

The app combines a user’s friends from across all platforms into a single list with support from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Users can connect one or more of their social media accounts to the app and it will then work to automatically populate their friends list with mutual connections.As well as private in-app chat, the app lets users post content out to Facebook and Twitter, and offers a map so users can see friends’ locations.


Read more on Social Times.

Social Media is using its powers for good and working to prevent Kanye from covering Bowie

We all know social media has the power to change the world, and that has hardly ever been clearer than last week – when an online petition gathered signatures to stop Kanye West from covering the late and great David Bowie’s music.

After news spread that the musician was planning a Bowie tribute album, more than 7,000 people laid down their signatures calling for West to rethink the move, one up-in-arms protester even going so far as calling Kanye West “the Donald Trump of music”. West’s representatives are yet to comment on the petition.


Read more on Mashable.

KnowMe is a new app for making better videos on your phone

iOS users, say hello to KnowMe… a new video creation and sharing platform brought to you by Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Andrew Jarecki.

A year in the making, it was designed to give users access to video editing technology that is much more user friendly than existing editing alternatives. Users make videos by combining live footage, pre-captured photos, and narrated audio recordings, and the editing tools are fun and easy to grasp. There’ll also be a discovery section, giving users the opportunity to view other users’ vids, as well as the option to export your videos to other social media platforms.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Forget Hollywood: Vimeo will just fund female filmmakers itself

As a way to help female filmmakers get it done like we all know they can, Vimeo is launching Share the Screen – an initiative to help female filmmakers learn, fund, and promote their craft.

Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor said: “From its beginning, Vimeo has always stood for the democratization of filmmaking, and of sharing videos and of gaining access to audiences. When we see all of the information from the past couple years about just how wide the gender equality gap is in the entertainment industry, lending our support identifying and celebrating female voices made all the sense in the world.”


Read more on Wired.

Facebook has introduced Audience Optimization for publishers

In a media blog post last week, Facebook announced the launch of Audience Optimization – an organic targeting tool to help publishers reach and engage their Facebook audience, and better understand the consumers engaging with their content.The tool lets users improve the relevancy of their post by indicating who is most likely to engage with it.

Tested by the likes of The New York Times and MTV, the feature allows publishers to add interest tags to content, and to limit visibility of certain posts by specifying which audiences would not find it relevant, as well as giving audience insights

Read more on the Facebook blog.

ZCast lets you start a live podcast from your phone for everyone to hear

ZCast is to podcasts what Periscope is to video – it lets you start a live audio recording from your smartphone or computer, broadcast a link to the session through Twitter, and then invite listeners to join and/or then leave comments in real time.

Unlike Periscope’s single account broadcast, ZCast creates a collaborative affair much in the same way listeners can call into live radio shows – in other words, it’s not a “one to many” broadcast, instead it’s a “many to many” offering.

The goal of the app is to give anyone with a phone “the ability to podcast and interact in real time with their audience.”

Read more on The Verge.