March was not short of news and updates in the world of social media. Here are just a handful of the top headlines over the past month.
There have been a number of mutterings about Twitter moving toward some paid features, and it’s been revealed that the platform is moving towards putting a paywall on TweetDeck, along with new features such as an Undo Tweet function being included into that model.
Twitter confirms a ‘big overhaul’ coming to TweetDeck https://t.co/03e7NCDkXm— 🟣 Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) March 10, 2021
As Twitter’s Media Studio offerings have vastly improved in the years since their acquisition of live streaming platform Periscope, along with the changing uses of live video on Twitter, it was announced this past month that Periscope would be shutting down altogether.
Looking back, Periscope was certainly an inspiration for other social media platforms, as seen through any Instagram Live broadcast. With Twitter being such an essential part of many major rights-holders and media outlets’ outputs, the writing was on the wall for yet another Twitter acquisition to close shop.
Both Instagram and Facebook are making a step towards more accessible content, trialing stickers on story posts that automatically transcribe audio for captioning. The feature was accidentally rolled out on some accounts earlier in March, however the company confirmed that the feature was still in its testing stages.
Following up on the success of Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, Instagram plans on unveiling a kid-friendly version of their app, as announced in March.
While the introduction of the Instagram Guide function was rolled out with little fanfare, the company is looking to include Guide posts in-feed. The function allows users to create articles and embed feed posts that are already uploaded into the app. It’s an excellent way to highlight user-generated content without rights clearance, as well as repurposing old content and giving it new life with a feature that the Instagram algorithm is very fond of.
In Reels news, Instagram rolled out a Remix functionality that is essentially its version of the Duet feature on TikTok. Users will now be able to respond to Reels with their own Reels.
So that’s what those random light switches are for💡 @quentinagerr— Instagram (@instagram) March 31, 2021
Say hi to Remix, a new feature that lets you create a reel next to an existing one 🤩https://t.co/GOCXGYZwM0 pic.twitter.com/9VqCDprYao
Despite the online calamity that came with Facebook blocking swathes of Australian media pages earlier in the year, Facebook is continuing its Facebook News rollout in select regions. Germany and Canada are among the next countries to be receiving this feature.
Like with many other apps, TikTok has been exploring in-app purchasing and e-commerce. This along with a new Shopify partnership intended to optimise ad campaigns on the platform.
TikTok also added a playlist feature to its app, making it easier for creators to bunch together their work in different facets of the app, and likely promoting longer watch-times for users.
Social Audio headlines
The Social Audio space has changed drastically in the first three months of the year. After the astronomical growth of Clubhouse in January and February, the development team behind the app have lagged behind on updates.
They expect an Android version to come out in a few months. This could be dangerous for Clubhouse’s extended success as users are developing fatigue over a lack of new and exciting events and fixes to notifications, the algorithm of the Hallway (Clubhouse’s version of a feed) and other experience-related features arriving slower than most are used to.
While Clubhouse slows down, development on Twitter Spaces is happening at a lightning speed. Spaces are continuing to be rolled out to users, with Android users already having access to Twitter’s social audio function.
Spaces has also beat out Clubhouse on live audio transcription and emoji reactions for listeners and speakers similar to those in DMs. Twitter is expecting to have a desktop version of Spaces available for users shortly, and is already preparing a Spaces icon in their app’s navigation bar.
Facebook is also making strides in creating their own social audio offerings, expecting to deliver both public rooms and private rooms for friends only. Facebook has launched a separate social audio app named Hotline, where influencers and celebrities can take questions from a live audience in real time.
Facebook has launched an experimental Q&A platform called Hotline, which borrows concepts from the audio-only social network Clubhouse.
The app, which is currently under beta testing, allows users to use a blend of voice, text and video formats when participating in discussions. pic.twitter.com/qJGxhIW07H
— BFM News (@NewsBFM) April 8, 2021
Beyond the major social platforms and numerous copycat social audio apps popping up each day, Spotify acquired the sports-centred social audio app Locker Room. It could be a perfect addition to Spotify’s podcasting endeavours and it will be interesting to see what the streaming service does with the app.