Recap: How has social media changed since the last SMWiCPH?

Text: Anders Lorenzen

The last time SMWiCPH was around was back in 2015, and during its spell on the sideline a lot has happened within the landscape of social media. Here is a recap of some of the major changes.

Livestreaming
One of the major introductions to social media between 2015-2017 has been the ability to livestream video. In the wake of SMWiCPH 2015, livestreaming-app, Meerkat, burst onto the big scene. And during the annual SXSW conference Meerkat was the topic of conversation, partially due to Twitter blocking it from its social graph. A move that coincided with Twitter’s introduction of their newly acquired streaming-app, Periscope, marking the beginning of a Mexican stand-off between the two.

As the records show, Periscope came out on top, consequently leading to the demise of Meerkat. However, the success of Periscope was short-lived, as Twitter in December 2016 integrated livestreaming within their own app. But as history proves, it doesn’t take long from a big trend on social media is born until Facebook copies it, and so 2016 was also the year that Facebook introduced Facebook live.

Facebook
Speaking of the social media behemoth, Facebook have been quite busy themselves since the last SMWiCPH. Their much anticipated Instant Articles have seen the light of day. Initially  made available to nine major American and British publishers, and since to everyone. However the hype, publishers have been cautious about jumping aboard this newfound opportunity, citing the loss of data as a pitfall.

Chatbots within Messenger is another new addition from the Facebook HQ. And the American election has fuelled the debate regarding fake news, in which Facebook is criticized for not taking a stronger stance in overcoming it.

Facebook has also been busy copying features on Snapchat. First they introduced Stories on Instagram (which by the way got a new logo!) sparking all sorts of rumors, then they added Messenger Day, also a very similar feature.

Snapchat
Facebook’s adoption of Snapchat’s features came at a time where Snapchat had rolled out all sorts of new and intriguing features including Memories, Chat 2.0 and the popular Lenses, which changed the selfie-game with dog faces and rainbow-vomiting.

But since the last SMWiCPH, Snapchat have also been increasing its effort to monetize on its popular platform by enabling the purchase of more snap-replays. An initiative that didn’t resonate well with their users, and as a consequence they pulled the plug on it. Instead Snapchat have begun a venture into the market of wearables with the introduction of Spectacles, a pair of sunglasses that enables the use of Snapchat without having to pull out your phone.

Twitter
Obviously Twitter have also made it to the headlines since SMWiCPH 2015, and not only for channeling Donald Trump’s colorful opinions.

Perhaps most notably for replacing the “favorite” button with the Facebook-assimilated “like”. Or for introducing Moments, a central tab comprising highlighted tweets curated by Twitter editors, which has subsequently been replaced by, and incorporated under, the new Explore tab.

Twitter have also been cutting back on what types of content that will use up the 140-character limit. Now media attachments (images, videos, gifs, polls) will no longer count against the limit. Neither will usernames, or handles, within replies. An update that has been long awaited.

LinkedIn
The biggest social media for professionals have also made some big changes. Namely a major redesign of their layout, which is currently still being rolled out. The new layout is very similar to that on Facebook. And in an effort to make the feed more relevant and messaging more smooth, LinkedIn has become a lot like its social media counterpart.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn have also been busy buying up other services. In April 2015 Linkedin bought the online learning universe Lynda.com in what seems like a match made in heaven. Now premium members on LinkedIn can enroll in courses to gain new competencies and fill in that missing link in job postings.

 

And that’s the end of this recap, but what does the future of social media hold? Find out during SMWiCPH 2017. Hopefully this summary have bolstered your social media knowledge, or at the very least reminded you of past developments, so that few things may come as a surprise to you during Week 9.

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