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This Week in Social: Hellos, Goodbyes and Bad Bots

On this day 1 year ago Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ was born

In what is undoubtedly the most meta of social stories, Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ feature has turned one. The feature allows Facebook users to see their posts and tags from the same day a year before, the year before that, and so on and so forth until the beginning of Facebook time. ‘On This Day’, everyday, receives more than 60 million visitors, some of whom are displeased by what they see (bad haircuts, poor decisions, ex lovers and the like). For this reason, Facebook has since introduced two filters allowing people to control what they see. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless… Facebook? Hmmm.

Read more on Social Times

Like WhatsApp before it, Facebook has given up on BlackBerry

In bad news for social butterfly BlackBerry users, Facebook has followed in the footsteps of WhatsApp and announced that it is discontinuing support for the BlackBerry platform. BlackBerry’s Senior marketing manager for developer relations Lou Gazzola shared the news in a blog post, highlighting the company’s disappointment with Facebook’s decision, saying that the company has fought back with Facebook and WhatsApp asking them to change their minds, but to no avail. In the ultimate “I want you back” act, the company has coined the #ILoveBB10Apps hashtag so bereaved BlackBerry users can let everyone on social media know how they feel about the decision… via the web, of course.


Read more on Social Times

Twitter turns ten and the social world is reminiscing

First of all, we’d just like to say a happy 10th anniversary to our favorite 140-character social network! Despite big changes and constant criticism and concern about its future, the short-messaging social media phenomenon still has much to celebrate of late.

A few facts about the social network today include:

  • The first “tweet” came from current CEO Jack Dorsey
  • It was originally called “twittr”, because dropping vowels was hip and cool back then
  • Revenue has grown from $28.3 million in 2010 to $2.22 billion in 2015
  • The company has had four CEOs in 10 years
  • That popular/ever-present/annoying Oscars night selfie photo by Ellen DeGeneres is still the most retweeted and liked Tweet
  • ROAR! Katie Perry is the #1 followed person on Twitter with almost 85 million followers
  • Back in 2008, Facebook tried to buy Twitter for a not-to-be-sniffed-at $500 million. It’s now worth a cool $11.7 billion
twitter turns 10

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Twitter taught Microsoft’s AI chatbot to be a terrible person in less than a day

Last week, Microsoft unveiled Tay – a Twitter bot that the company called “an experiment in conversational understanding” – and it took Twitter less than 24 hours to corrupt it. The more users chatted with Tay, the smarter it got, learning to engage through “casual and playful conversation.” Well… if you deem misogynistic, racist and Donald Trumpist remarks “casual and playful” then yeah, things went according to plan. Tay (essentially a robot parrot with an internet connection) started repeating people’s sentiments back to users with a grand total of 96,000 tweets. Microsoft’s website notes that Tay was built using “relevant public data” that’s been “modeled, cleaned, and filtered,” but, as AI fate would have it, humanity shone through.


Read more on The Verge

Google is building YouTube Connect, a livestreaming app to take on Periscope

Word on the (tech) street is that Google has been working on a new livestreaming app called YouTube Connect. Available on both iOS and Android, the newbie comes at a time when Google is playing a sweaty game of catch-up with the big guns of the live video realm – Periscope, Meerkat and Facebook Live. A source says that the service will be equipped with much of the same functionality these other livestreaming apps already offer.

YouTube Connect

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Skype is about to launch its universal Windows app preview

Brace yourselves, Internet World – a new Skype is coming. Microsoft last week announced that it would be rolling out a preview of its Skype universal Windows app to its Windows Insider program participants in the coming weeks.

With the existing app is still available on PCs running Windows 10, Microsoft says it will gradually merge the existing app and the new one over time. The new version will include many of the existing features, as well as newbies like the ability to chat with non-Skype users, group chat, group voice and video calling, and a means to deal with notifications individually for each chat. The look and feel have also been simplified by removing duplicative and unnecessary menus.


Read more on VentureBeat

A few ways the changes in Instagram’s feed will impact brands

With almost 200,000 people signing a petition to “Keep Instagram Chronological”, it’s pretty clear that not everyone is happy about Instagram’s new algorithm-based feed which will deliver up “more relevant” content to each user. Petition or no, it seems the changes are going ahead as planned. That’s why, in the increasingly “pay to play” environment that is Instagram, there are a few facts experts are feeding brands to help them keep up/prepare/kick ass:

First up, follower numbers will grow but follower counts will be less relevant. Engagement rate will become even more important and brands, marketers and influencers will need to create more engaging content. The demand for influencers will grow and paid Instagram advertising will be more common (and effective).

Read more on SocialTimes

Twitter is looking to see if stickers are right for its future

Following in the footsteps of Line, Facebook, Path and Snapchat, Twitter is looking to jump into the stickers game. The company is trialing a new product called (last chance for your guesses!)… “Stickers” that will allow users to affix certain graphics directly onto their photos before tweeting them. It’s also speculated that there will be a feature suggesting other edits that have been made to the same photo, which is likely to encourage users to participate in furthering a meme. If publicly launched, this would represent the latest push by Twitter to boost its photo offering.

Read more on VentureBeat

Google Photos gets smarter albums with support for maps and more

Google Photos is gifting us with smarter photo albums on mobile and the web.

The update, released yesterday, will suggest new albums after users take trips or attend events, and each album will curate the best photos and videos from each event. These new and improved “smart albums” will include maps and location pins, meaning users can see just how far they’ve traveled and where they’ve been along the way. Users can add text captions to these albums, helping create an overall ‘story’ for each event, and can also collaborate with other users, allowing them to add their own photos and memories to the albums.

Read more on Social Times

Instagram beefs up web interface with a notifications tab

Adding to its list of “FIIIIINALLY!” features, Instagram is now enhancing its web version, meaning users can get all caught up without even touching their phones.

What began as a mobile-only service, has now rolled out an Activity tab on web, which is identical to the notifications tab inside the app so that users will be able to see who liked or commented on their posts, as well as who followed or tagged them. Though Instagram declined to comment on whether this was part of a bigger push on web, making the service more cross-platform certainly can’t hurt its popularity.

Insta web

Read more on TechCrunch

Snapchat is proving itself the best way to reach Gen Z

If you’re looking to get in touch with Gen Z (from a brand perspective… sorry, parents), Snapchat is the way to go. Last year, the mobile-messaging-app-turned-content-discovery-platform took steps toward becoming a legit advertising platform. But even before that, brands were using Snapchat to reach their audiences. Though the brand is on the verge of going mainstream this year, strategy director at R2Integrated marketing agency says that Snapchat’s huge user-base skews toward Millennials and Gen Z. The fastest growing social network in social network history, 63% of Snapchat’s more than 100,000 daily active users are between the ages of 13 and 34, and are a driving force behind the mobile revolution.

Read more on Social Times